Examining race relations through the lens of a horror film is not exactly a common thing, but it’s been done a good number of times over the years. Many would be quick to cite George Romero’s seminal Night of the Living Dead as one of the earliest examples, which featured a heroic black lead pitted against a stubborn older white man, in a time when black leading men were quite rare. Another prime example would be Wes Craven’s 1991 cult hit The People Under the Stairs, which saw a poor black child attempt to escape from a violently psychotic, rich white couple’s local house of horrors.
The latest entry into this subgenre of horror is Jordan Peele’s Get Out, a combination of straightforward horror flick, pitch-black comedy, and examination of a rural white family’s seeming struggle to accept their daughter’s new black boyfriend. While many might not expect the co-creator of hilarious sketch show Key & Peele to make his directorial debut with a horror film, Peele has long-expressed a great fandom for the genre, and a desire to live up to classic inspirations like Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives.
With Get Out set to hit theaters this weekend, the early reviews for Peele’s debut are in, and — so far at least — are uniformly positive. With 28 reviews counted as of this writing, Get Out is sitting at a very rare 100 percent rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Included below are a few excerpts from those reviews. The full reviews are also linked, for those who’d like to read more.
Variety – Peter Debruge
Blending race-savvy satire with horror to especially potent effect, this bombshell social critique from first-time director Jordan Peele proves positively fearless – which is not at all the same thing as scareless.
THR – John DeFore
One of the most satisfying thrillers in several years, Get Out proves that its first-time director, Key and Peele costar Jordan Peele, has plenty of career options if he should grow tired of doing comedy in front of the camera.
AV Club – A.A. Dowd
Get Out works so well as a gauntlet of social horror that it almost doesn’t need its more traditional thriller elements.
New Yorker – Richard Brody
Peele’s perfectly tuned cast and deft camera work unleash his uproarious humor along with his political fury; with his first film, he’s already an American Buñuel.
Time Out – Joshua Rothkopf
A horror film with the power to put a rascally grin on the face of that great genre subverter John Carpenter (They Live), Get Out has more fun playing with half-buried racial tensions than with scaring us to death.
While Get Out’s mammoth Rotten Tomatoes score will probably drop at least a little bit as more and more reviews come in, the critical consensus so far points to Jordan Peele’s first effort behind the camera being just as effective as his comedic turns in front of it. However, it’ll be interesting to see if the film’s somewhat controversial subject matter ends up standing in the way of its box office take.
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