Get Out (2017)
The concepts for the best horror films are simple. A young black man faces a great fear: a weekend at his white girlfriend's parents' house. While the less self aware amongst you will tut tut at the stereotyping done by Chris, our hero played excellently by Daniel Kaluuya in Jordan Peele's horror-mystery film, the rest of us know exactly where this is headed.
Peele, known best for his comedy, delivers both horror and laughs in this genre bender. We get to know Chris through well-written dialogue between he and a bevy of side characters. The politics revealed throughout are necessary as the backbone of the film: Peele isn't afraid to call out the boring-ass white liberals who populate his fanbase.
"I would have voted for Obama a third time if I could," quips Dean Armitage, the father of Chris' girlfriend (Rose Armitage, played deliciously by Allison Williams), as if he's saying something genuine and profound. No shit, Dean, how cool. What follows is a parade of uncomfortable pseudo-racism and stereotypes that Peele forces his audience to sit through. Hell, most of the horror comes from "The Office" style discomfort.
It's possible, hell, even likely, Peele won't return to the genre after this because "Get Out" is so firmly in his wheelhouse. Chris is a perfectly written character. He has depth unlike any I've seen in a horror film in years. He cries, laughs, cracks jokes and shows strength while also being distinctly vulnerable.
All this comes in a horror film with the guts to be about something. While many films helmed by white directors and penned by white scribes have the depth of a Casey Affleck acceptance speech, Peele's directorial debut means something. Weird, almost likely diversity in film has value after all.
If there's a flaw in "Get Out" it's that it starts to drag a touch towards the end. That can be forgiven because the payoff is so damn rewarding. Without getting into any spoilers, let me say that this is the ending we as an audience deserve. 2017 is off to a great start and I can't wait to see what Peele rolls out next.