Cameron M Johnson 🍤’s review published on Letterboxd :
Even though he's surely learned a ton from his previous high-profile pursuits, Jordan Peele has managed to more than impress with his feature film directorial debut, a relevant and visionary chiller that, through subsersive cultural satire, aims to both unsettle and shock. For me, it was successful; don't know about y'all, but at least three jump scares got me to physically jump, and towards the end there were parts where I wanted to look away from the screen. Its politics only add to the chills.
Aesthetically, it reminds me most of It Follows: sleek, creeping and digital, with hints of body horror and Lynchian surrealist oddity. If I've got any problem with it, it's that Peele focuses too much on making supporting characters (I almost unironically said "NPCs") "crazy" for the sake of it, whereas the commentary might've been stronger were the likes of, say, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) a bit more subtle. His performance didn't sit well with me, but not for the right reasons.
Otherwise, this is an acting masterclass. As Chris, Kaluuya (Sam Jackson's commentary aside) is brilliant, walking the fine line between anxious, disappointedly amused and outright terrorized at the all the racially-charged Hot Fuzz-esque absurdity he finds himself dropped into. He's the perfect audience surrogate; from my perspective as a white liberal, having him react to all the Obama's the GOAT's, my man's and you golf? I love Tiger Woods's had me thinking, teeth a-cringing', yeah, true lol, wew.
The general politics are sidelined a bit towards the end, but the twist is far enough up my alley that I was distracted well enough. Lil Rel Howery's turn as Chris' friend, a TSA agent and, as such, the comic relief, is incredibly entertaining, if resulting in some forced one-liners. Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford and, especially, Catherine Keener are all also excellent as the main white people.
I love that Peele has taken something that is scary to him (and also darkly funny), and turned it into a horror film that actually says - and means - something, as opposed to only trying to scare the audience (which is not why I watch horror). But even from a purely horror film perspective, this is superb craftspersonship, with gorgeous, close-up-heavy cinematography, a genuinely atmospheric color palette & use of shadow, and some great suspense-editing.
I like to argue that it's passion, honesty and consistency of vision that make great cinema. On those terms, this is some of the best horror of this decade, up there with It Follows, The Babadook, Under the Skin and The VVitch.