Released 02/24/2017 Rated: R
This movie snuck up on us. We saw an ad for this less than a week before it’s release date. My husband turned to me and said “I want to see that.” And I had my reservations. I’m just like “That looks weird, but all right.” Other than the fact that we saw this with the wrong audience, (people behind us kept whispering, and the people down the row from them kept giggling because I’m pretty sure they were drunk) this movie was really freakin’ good.
If you’ve never heard of it, the bare-bones synopsis doesn’t sound like much, but trust me. A young African-American man travels to spend the weekend with his Caucasian girlfriend’s parents at their mysterious family estate. When her parents reveal that this weekend is the same they host their annual get together with friends, Chris starts to feel uncomfortable around everyone’s odd behavior.
With his first directorial debut, Jordan Peele, one half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, has proven not only that he is more than comedy sketches, but that in order to do horror well, there needs to be some level of comedy. Now, I would not classify this as a comedy at all, dark or otherwise. There are tension-breaking moments that allow you to chuckle, but the majority of them produce nervous laughter. This draws the viewer more into the story and the mystery, rather than take them out of the movie by inserting an inappropriate fart joke in a serious moment.
One thing Peele has said about this movie is that he wanted to make a movie where the viewers would go back and watch it a second time, and pick up on what’s really going on. When the twist happened, I was already making connections to things Rose’s family had said to Chris, and the way each of the Armitage’s friends interacted with Chris. Every bit comes back around and makes perfect sense in regards to the plot once you understand. And I LOVE that about this film! Every second in this movie is utilized.
Another thing I loved was Chris’s friend Rod, who is basically the audience’s voice on screen. Have you ever watched a horror movie and just yelled at the characters? “Don’t go in the basement! You’re an idiot! It’s not safe!”? It’s like that. Rod is watching Chris’s dog while he’s away, and is the only one Chris feels he can confide in about all the weird things going on at the estate. We, the viewers, see what’s going on, and we’re all just like “Get the fuck out of there, man,” same as Rod’s doing. Rod is definitely the comedic relief, but it grounds this film in reality. If this was happening to your friend, would you not break it down as bluntly as possible?
This movie is great; it’s original, it’s maddening, it’s funny, and it is totally worth it. We need more like it!