The number one film at the United States box office is a low-budget indie horror film that’s being described as modern-day Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with a sinister twist.
Despite having a budget of only $US4.5 million, Get Out grossed more than $US33 million last weekend, beating blockbusters such as Fifty Shades Darker, The LEGO Batman Movie and Hidden Figures for top spot.
A blend of horror and comedy written by comedian Jordan Peele in his directorial debut, the film has received a rare 99 per cent score on critics site Rotten Tomatoes.
Get Out tells the story of a young black man named Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya), who goes to meet the parents of his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) at their remote, suburban home.
Chris has reservations about how Rose’s parents’ will react to his skin colour, but she insists it won’t be a problem and, while her mum and dad make some cringe-worthy comments, they are welcoming and accepting.
However, Chris soon realises something is not quite right in the seemingly innocuous neighbourhood, and Rose’s parents (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) aren’t quite as liberal and open-minded as they appear.
Things really start to get interesting when a distraught young black man sees Chris at a party and frantically warns him to “get out”.
Peele is being celebrated for successfully exploring the complexities of current racial tension in America as well as the country’s horrifying history of slavery and civil rights abuses using shock tactics and sinister humour.
“The best and scariest monsters in the world are human beings and what we are capable of especially when we get together,” he told Insider.
“I’ve been working on these premises about these different social demons, these innately human monsters that are woven into the fabric of how we think and how we interact, and each one of my movies is going to be about a different one of these social demons.”
Get Out is the first feature film for Williams, who is best known for her work on HBO series Girls, and she said the audience reactions to the movie had been a highlight.
There are cheers, people applaud, people yell things in unison at the screen.
“It is one of the best moviegoing experiences I’ve ever had,” Williams told late night host Seth Meyers.
“Sitting in the audience… there are cheers, people applaud, people yell things in unison at the screen.”
Hollywood industry magazine Variety said the “tricky paradox” Get Out managed to pull off was “it’s a horror film that lays waste to the liberal dream, blasting apart fantasies of a kinder, gentler, colour-blind, ‘post-racial’ America”.
“Yet part of the film’s catharsis,”critic Owen Gleiberman writes, “is that its very existence proves that we’re strong enough, as racially diverse moviegoers, to unite and giggle in fearful suspense at a vision that hits this luridly close to home.”
Get Out hits Australian cinemas on May 4.