Writer/Director Jordan Peele

Anita: Get Out is one small step for The Stepford Wives and a quantum leap for the film genre.

A group of five of us went to see the new film Get Out yesterday —all of us people of color and none of us fans of horror films. I purposefully did not watch the trailer—they give away way too much (what’s up with that anyway?)—nor did I read any reviews so I could freshly appreciate the story. Bottom line: wow.

Peele crafted the film’s social/artistic/psychological layers brilliantly, and took his time with pacing, allowing faces to fill the frame and build tension. The hero, Chris Washington was portrayed flawlessly by British actor, Daniel Kaluuya who can show so much with a glance and a smirk. My biggest wish was for more black characters to put more black actors on the payroll—nevertheless the entire cast did a fine job.

We saw the film at Rowland Theater in Novato, CA: went to a 2:20 showing, there were only a handful of people most over sixty and white (parr for Marin County, northern California). Afterwards we went to Moylan’s Brewery for drinks and a bite to discuss. Well, we had not stopped discussing from the time we rose from our seats and walked across the street, through the doors and into the booth. When our blond-haired waitress greets us the first thing she says is “Did you just see Get Out?…..my favorite movie right now! One of the other waitresses and I went to see it yesterday and when we came out we didn’t speak for twenty minutes. All we could say was, ‘What just happened?'”

As we were leaving the theater (to the horror of the others in my party) I asked the three white folk—a man and two women—sitting in the row in front of us what their verdict was. The man said, “That was two hours of my life I can never get back.” One of the women said, “I thought it was wonderful!” I think it would’ve been fun to invite them to join us across the street—but—maybe not.

I get that we need to label stuff so we can talk about it, but Peele has us struggling with what to call this innovative film. Without strictly succumbing to the conventions of horror or thriller or comedy or drama, and without overwhelming viewers in reenactments of the real life terrors of the film’s major themes, Get Out melds—via its image system, symbolism, and nuance—the seen and the unseen; the spoken and unspoken to yield a story with outstanding visceral impact.

I was a huge fan of Key & Peele on Comedy Central and can now see that all those clever, finely produced skits (and perhaps especially Season 3 which was too gory for my taste)  prepared Peele for this triumphant debut as feature-length writer/director.

This was definitely two hours of my life I can’t wait to repeat.

Here are two of my favorite skits from Key & Peele on Comedy Central:

Substitute Teacher: https://youtu.be/Dd7FixvoKBw

Obama’s Anger Translator: https://youtu.be/F3gIYgSa4qw