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Review: Race is human horror in scathing ‘Get Out’

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

“Get Out” has a creepy, squirm-inducing vibe right from the start, and that’s before it even gets down to the serious business of being a horror movie.

Writer-director Jordan Peele has fashioned a smart, scathing commentary on race, using even tiny social indiscretions — a white couple discusses golf with a black man by first bringing up Tiger Woods; a white father greets his daughter’s black boyfriend with a booming, “my man!” — as a base for his allegory on the horror of race in America.

Daniel Kaluuya (“Sicario”) is a revelation as Chris, who goes off to the country with his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams of HBO’s “Girls”) to meet her well-to-do parents, Dean and Missy (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). There is uneasiness from the start, as Chris wonders if Rose has relayed to her parents that she’s bringing home a black man. “The love is so real,” she assures him. “My dad would have voted for Obama a third term if he could have.”

When they arrive there is unspoken tension, especially between Chris and Rose’s aggressive brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), and Missy, disarming in her warmth, is intent on hypnotizing Chris to stop smoking. Where Peele goes next is surprising and audacious, and although he doesn’t entirely pull it off, his broad points about race hit with stinging accuracy.

Peele, one-half of comic duo Key and Peele, establishes a tone of crippling dread in the opening scene. He doesn’t abandon humor — Lil Rel Howery is a bust-up as Chris’ TSA agent friend — but he uses it as another tool to hammer home his point about the most human of horrors.

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

‘Get Out’

GRADE: B+

Rated R: for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references

Running time: 104 minutes