The pre-credits sequence sees a lost man looking for an address in the suburbs, uncomfortable with his surroundings, feeling that he is sticking out like a sore thumb and uneasy with a passing car, rightly so as it happens.
We then shift to the main story which concerns Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) who are preparing for a journey out of the city and into the countryside for a few nights to stay with Rose’s parents. Chris hasn’t met them before and is apprehensive journeying to the family home, as a new boyfriend would be, and more so as the first black boyfriend of white Rose, but she assures him that they’re not racists and that her dad would even have voted for Obama a third time if he could!
When they arrive her parents are very friendly and welcoming, perhaps even a little too much, but some of the interactions with staff who work at the family home hint that there is something odd going on here. A large family gathering the following day leads to a number of strange and uncomfortably racist conversations from people who consider themselves well meaning.
As a chiller the film plays with the sense of unease well, conveying an uncomfortable feeling. It maintains the tension between things being odd and raising concern but also being just about plausibly explained enough that things feel they can continue. Daniel Kaluuya is great as the character of Chris, playing him in a way that keeps you in his shoes as he treads the fine line between acting normal and watching his back. Allison Williams is also good, almost putting on a completely different face when called for in the third act.
It eventually stretches the limits of believability though, I mean, talk about finding the most difficult solution imaginable to a situation. Why change a broken lightbulb when you can move your entire house and possessions around another working light!
3 on 5
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
UK Release: 17th March 2017