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‘Get Out’ much more than a horror flick

Jordan Peele, from the Comedy Central sketch show “Key & Peele,” might not be the first person you’d entrust with helming a horror film. Thankfully, a Hollywood executive did. And in Peele’s first feature film (whose script he also penned), the result is one of the most effective thriller-horror movies in recent memory.

“Get Out” begins innocently enough. An interracial couple, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a black man, and Rose (Allison Williams), a white woman, visit the latter’s parents for the weekend in upstate New York. Chris fears that her parents will not take a liking to their relationship, but she assures him that they won’t mind. Rose’s parents (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) welcome Chris with open arms, but he soon finds that there’s more to them that’s lying beneath their amiable exteriors. To write anymore here would be giving away some of the best elements of the film: its numerous twists and turns.

Peele has mainly been known as a funnyman, and while there are no dearth of laughs in the movie, there are also some weighty topics at play. At its core, “Get Out” is an allegory about racism in America and judging based on surface appearances.

Superb acting from the entire cast reels us in and keeps us glued to this far-out story. The genuine emotions from Kaluuya help balance out some of the more outrageous scenarios that his character endures. As Chris’ surroundings and relationships crumble around him, he remains a grounded presence keeping us on track.

“Get Out” doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares to draw attention (though there are a handful of those, too, for good measure). The real scares come from witnessing characters’ transformations as well as the startling revelations Chris has while visiting Rose’s family home. There are layers to unpack in Peele’s film that warrant repeat viewings. And once the lights rise on “Get Out,” there are plenty of good reasons to go back and see it all over again.

“Get Out” is rated-R for violence, bloody images, and language including sexual references. It is playing at the Oxford Commons Cinema.