First Hit: I enjoyed it because it was both odd and interestingly good.
The very first scene before the initial credits, the audience watches a young black man Andrew (Lakeith Stanfield) who is looking lost while walking on a sidewalk in a dark suburban neighborhood when a white car pulls up next to him. He decides that it’s best that he leaves the area but gets mugged and stuffed into the car’s trunk. The way this scene is shot, the scared - this is not my neighborhood - feeling, the resulting fight, the stiffness of the body and the way it’s stuffed into the trunk is effective and encompases and the set up for the entire film.
Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), who is black, is a photographer and is dating a white suburban girl named Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). She decides to take him to her home. When he asks her, "do they know I'm black?", she seems surprised and says her family isn’t racist and that there no need to tell them ahead of time.
Arriving, there is an initial openness and friendliness that supports her story about her family, but the black man, Walter (Marcus Henderson), working in the yard, and the black woman, Georgina (Betty Gabriel), working in the house seem off, not quite right. Chris takes note of this and during a conversation with Rose’s dad Dean (Bradley Whitford) things seem even more off center. Then at dinner Chris meets the Rose’s brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones), and he makes even more odd comments about his physical characteristics that make him feel like a specimen.
Then he spends time with the Rose’s mother Missy (Catherine Keener) who is a psychologist that specializes in hypnotism. She puts him under without him knowing it and while under the guise to help him quit smoking, the audience knows there's more going on.
These events are followed the next day by a party with really odd guests that have Andrew reappearing as a zombie like friend of an older white woman. This slow buildup transitions to a rather bizarre story that has Chris reaching out to his friend Rod (Lil Rel Howery) who is a TSA agent, is talkative and curious type person. At first you think his thoughts and feedback are hyperbole but he might be onto something.
This whole thing leads to an interesting storyline that is entertaining, spooky, and fun to watch.
Kaluuya does an effective job in this role. His ability to cry while in a supposedly hypnotic state and talking about his mother’s death was wonderful. His curiosity and using his intuitive antenna to figure out what is going on was superb. Williams was wonderful and fully believable as both someone who cared about Chris and also the supported the family mission to alter lives to their best interest. Henderson and Gabriel were especially effective in their zombie like roles. Stanfield was wonderful as both the scared guy walking through the neighborhood and then as zombie arm candy. Howery was fantastic as someone who believed in himself and effectively leveraged his bizarre role of the guy who becomes the hero. Keener was strong as the psychologist mother who controlled people’s behavior though hypnosis. Whitford was clearly effective as the pleasing probing dad. Jones was excellent as the twisted brother. Jordan Peele had a clear interesting vision through his script and did a wonderful job of executing this vision as Director.
Overall: This was a slightly different twist on horror through control of people