An African-American photographer, Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya) travels to his white girlfriend Rose's (played by Allison Williams) parents to visit them for the first time at their secluded estate somewhere in up-north countryside. The friendly atmosphere of this mundane meeting starts to crack and reveal something more sinister beneath the surface.
The basic set-up of the plot echoes the classic civil rights era film, Stanley Kramer's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967) where a white woman introduces her African-American boyfriend to her liberal parents whose tolerance begins to show its limitations. Peele cleverly uses this inter-text as a backdrop, giving an undertone for the main theme, but essentially develops his film into something utterly original. Many spectators will leave the film with the thought that they have never seen anything like this. Never have the monsters of horror films felt so abstract and so concrete at the same time.
Peele is able to derive from his comedy-background the ability to build up tension in a fashion which often borders the line of humor without directing the spectator to laughs but rather to flinches in terror. Although "Get Out" does not come across as a self-aware meta-film dealing with the genre of horror like "It Follows" (2014), Peele's film does have a self-awareness to it which, however, never interrupts a scene or the development of suspense. Peele might use genre conventions with an ironic twinkle in his eye, but they are never subjected to any comprehensively genre-critical discourse. On the contrary, the self-aware genre conventions enhance the deeply felt structure of the film whose narrative power pushes the spectators tightly into their seats.
"Get Out" begins with a serene shot of a wealthy American suburb where an African-American man is ambling, looking for the right street. This image in itself, mundane as its setting may be, already invokes feelings of horror because we have heard of so many stories where black men end up dead in innocent places such as these. It sets up an impressive and frightening sensation of not being welcomed which characterizes the film throughout. Peele's structured and disciplined mise-en-scène of precise compositions beautifully articulates and exemplifies the impression of a seemingly "post-racial" society where everything seems to be in order, but which conceals secrets underneath.
Overall, Peele's "Get Out" is a real cinematic treat and most likely will acquire a following. Whether the film skyrockets Peele to cinematic success or not will remain to be seen, for it is always the second film which shows if the director's first hit was just a stroke of luck. Yours truly is very confident -- as well as interested and hopeful for the future of contemporary American cinema.