In celebration of Black History Month, we’re making daily movie recommendations, presented in chronological order of the films’ stories.
Stay tuned to Noovie every day as we highlight an original, landmark film worth revisiting or discovering for the first time.
February 28 – Get Out (2017)
After years of making audiences with squeal with laughter as one-half of the comedy duo “Key & Peele,” genre provocateur Jordan Peele assumes the mantle of horror auteur as the writer-director of “Get Out,” his terrifying satire which has audiences squealing in a whole different manner.
At first glance, “Get Out” is seemingly a part of a well-established scary movie genre wherein the unsuspecting couple lands in a small-town community where everything seems just about perfect on the surface, but gradually reveals its underlying, sinister motivations. That’s still certainly the case with Peele’s end product, but the true reasons that the hero of his story needs to worry have all to do with long-standing issues of race, and a stand he’ll have to take that provokes its own unique reactions in the audiences that see it.
Budgeted at $4.5 million, the film was a massive hit with critics and moviegoers, grossing more than $255 million worldwide, and heralding the arrival of a very special filmmaking talent.
The film’s protagonist, mild-mannered NY photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), is worried at the start of the movie, but not for any of the reasons in most horror-thrillers.
He’s simply concerned because he’s heading out on a trip with his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) to meet her white family in upstate New York for the first time. Arriving in her picture-esque hometown, it seems at first that his hesitations are unwarranted. Rose’s parents, neurosurgeon Dean Armitage (Bradley Whitford) and his psychiatrist wife Missy (Catherine Keener), are self-congratulatory liberals who consider themselves huge Obama fans. Brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) is a little more off-center, but he also seems mostly harmless.
It’s only when Chris tries to interact with the black folks who work the estate, housekeeper Georgina and groundskeeper Walter, that he begins to suspect things. Their cool reception to him, and the strange behavior of black townsman Logan King (Lakeith Stanfield), are both disconcerting. The final break happens when Missy tries to help Chris with his nicotine habit and hypnotizes him into a comatose state she calls “the sunken place.” From there, all hell is unleashed. As it turns out, the entire town’s a part of a long-standing evil plot to trap African Americans and use their bodies as vessels for older, decrepit white folks’ brains.
When Chris finds out what’s going on, and that his girlfriend’s in on it all, it’s up to him and his buddy from the city to take down the evildoers and “get out.”
Throughout their creepy journey, filmmaker Peele tightens the screws with expertise, and makes some strong social points along the way. The entire enterprise is hellishly entertaining and doesn’t pull its punches when confronting subtle and explicit racism along the way.
“Get Out” was a landmark horror film that confidently intertwined issues of race and bloody horror into an intoxicating blend that provoked and entertained and exploded at the box office, and is still Peele’s brand-making genre calling card (followed up by his excellent “Us,” a new version of “The Twilight Zone” and an upcoming remake of “Candyman”). While some older critics (ahem, Rex Reed) and Academy voters balked, the film managed four Oscar nominations:
Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Director. It won for Original Screenplay and is regarded as one of the best films of the 2010s.
Where to Watch
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.