There’s a new breed of psychological horror film hitting our screens, and it’s making some money. For good reasons. It features a combination of shock, creepiness, comedy, and inventive storytelling, while staying away from explicit gore. And it provides audiences with something that you can’t get at home, watching a movie on your couch: That special treat of being in a big, dark room, sharing emotional, physical, and vocal reactions with total strangers (I was certainly not the only one who screamed (happily) a couple of times, and thought to myself (or possibly said out loud), “No! Don’t go in there!!”)

If you liked the recent horror films “The Visit” or “Lights Out,” this one’s right up your alley. A mood is set right away, even before the opening credits. A young black man, walking down a suburban street late at night, obviously lost, and muttering to himself about his situation, is attacked, knocked out, and stuffed into the trunk of a car by someone who just might be wearing a metal helmet. The scene, initially played for nervous laughs, gets serious. It appears to be a stand-alone sequence, but it makes a lot more sense an hour into the film.

At the end of the opening credits, we’re in a city, where Rose (Allison Williams) and her boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) are about to make their first visit, as a couple, to her well-to-do parents’ isolated country home. Chris is understandably a little anxious about this getaway weekend, since Rose has apparently forgotten to tell her parents that he’s black. No problem, she says, trying to calm him down. They’re hip.

She’s right. Upon their arrival at the lakeside manse, Chris is warmly greeted by Rose’s psychiatrist mom Missy (Catherine Keener) and neurosurgeon dad Dean (Bradley Whitford) and immediately finds out that they’re huggers. All is good. Well, maybe not all. There’s something a tad off about the two black folks who keep the place in order: Housekeeper Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and the groundskeeper Walter (Marcus Henderson), who smile just a little too much, and who have a kind of robotic “Stepford Wives” air about them.

Is it only Chris that notices this behavior? Yes, but there’s no time to think about it because, uh-oh, Rose has completely forgotten that it’s the weekend that her parents throw their annual backyard party, complete with gaggles of their equally well-to-do white friends, almost all of them staring curiously at Chris, and trying to make small talk about being black in America. Man, it’s a good thing that there’s at least one young black guest there, a doe-eyed fellow named Logan (Lakeith Stanfield) who, like the house servants, appears to be a little out of it.

It’s at this party that the movie starts to veer into bizarre territory. Unless you consider an earlier scene, the previous evening, where Missy attempts to cure Chris of his smoking habit through some unorthodox hypnosis. Whichever jumping off point you want to choose, the film is soon taking a deep dive down a rabbit hole of weirdness, stopping to make points about Jeffrey Dahmer, mind control, mad scientists, and how African Americans can be of most benefit to wealthy Caucasians.

As an examination of racial relationships in America, the movie goes to some dicey places, and it likely took some guts for it to be given a green light. But it was written and directed by first-timer Jordan Peele (Key and Peele), with just the right seriocomic sensibility to make it work and to make it enjoyably accessible to a wide audience. In fact, despite its unnerving atmosphere, it’s often funnier — due to the presence of LilRel Howard as Chris’ dog-sitting pal Rod — than it is creepy.

— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now.

“Get Out”
Written and directed by Jordan Peele
With Daniel Kaluuva, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, LilRel Howery
Rated R