TajLV’s review published on Letterboxd :
Film #6 of 33 in my Hoop-Tober 2017 challenge
Because so many of my selections for this year's challenge meet more than one qualifying criteria, I've got the freedom to includes some horror films "just because." This is my first of those, just because the premise seemed interesting and it's a new film, recently released as actor Jordan Peele's debut as a writer-director. It starts with a cold open showing the abduction of a black man named Andre Hayworth (LaKeith Stanfield) while walking through a middle-class suburb late one night.
The scene then switches to Daniel Kaluuya starring as Chris Washington, a black photographer in Philadephia, who has a white girlfriend named Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). Rose has invited Chris to meet her parents over a weekend at Lake Ponaco, PA, but he's concerned that they are not aware of his race. Rose says her parents are not racist, so it's no problem. On the other hand, Chris's buddy Rod Milliams (Lil Rel Howery), a TSA agent, thinks visiting a white girl's folks is a really bad idea.
En route to the Armitage estate, Rose accidentally hits a deer with her car. The police officer who investigates profiles Chris, which bugs Rose but Chris just goes along. Once they arrive, Chris meets her parents, the neurosurgeon Dean and his psychiatrist wife Missy (Bradley Whitford & Catherine Keener), as well as her visiting alcoholic brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones). Also living on the estate is the groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson) plus the housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel).
When she learns Chris is a smoker, Missy offers to cure him of the habit through hypnosis. And later that night, almost against his will, she puts him in a trance, talking about the death of his mother. Mentally, she takes him to "the sunken place." Then Chris wakes up, early in the morning, in bed, like from a nightmare. Walter, chopping wood, seems hostile to Chris, as if jealous of Chris. And Georgina seems half in a trance herself.
The Armitage family has a get-together each year for friends of Rose's deceased grandmother. The cars and guests begin to roll in, all white persons, who take an inordinate interest in "the black" among them. But there is one black man at the party, a fellow named Logan King (Stanfield). He's guided around by a woman called Philomena King (Geraldine Singer), his apparent Sugar Mama. He also meets a blind art dealer named Jim Hudson (Stephen Root), who "admires" his work.
From here, it really gets creepy, and I will not spoil it with a full synopsis. Let's say the themes encountered range from the obvious racial issues to the misuse of hypnotherapy to the quest for immortality and some socio-economic clashes I would prefer to leave to other films. There are some bloody murders, too. It's kind of sick, but fascinating. And never mind the alternate ending. The BET Awards nominated this for Best Movie, and it surely deserves even more recognition for Peele. Watch it, for sure. What a great first feature!