The film takes place in modern times and follows a young couple who are in the midst of an interracial relationship. When the film begins, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) are preparing to travel out of town to visit her parents for the weekend. Prior to their departure, Chris expresses his concern with meeting her parents because they are unaware of the fact that he is black, and fears rejection from her family. Rose assures him that he has nothing to worry about because her family is accepting of all people and with the issue put to rest they begin their trip.
Their arrival to the Armitage estate initially brings a sigh of relief for Chris as the family welcomes him with open arms, however as the night progresses the family’s passive racism begins to make him uncomfortable. His uneasiness is elevated that same night when he notices the strange behavior coming from the family’s gardener and housekeeper as he exits the house to smoke a cigarette. Upon reentering the house, Chris encounters Rose’s mother, Missy (Catherine Keener), who invites him inter her study to make conversation. During their conversation, Missy begins to hypnotize Chris and within minutes she places him in a quasi-catatonic state, where his consciousness is impaired and sent to place Missy calls “the sunken place”. In the morning, Chris wakes up scared and confused from what he believes to be a nightmare, however he later.
The following day marks the start of a sinister plan beginning to take form background while Chris and Rose ready themselves for a seemingly unexpected family party. After the arrival the Armitage’s guests, Chris begins to feel overwhelmed with the uncomfortably amount of interests they seem to have on him. Upon spotting another black guest at the family’s party, Chris attempts to connect with the mysterious guest. To Chris’ surprise, the guest, Andrew Logan King (Lakeith Stanfeild), does not respond in the same fashion and rather displays awkward mannerisms around Chris. In a later encounter, Chris tries to take a picture of Andrew without calling attention to himself but fails when his phone’s flash goes off. The flash from Chris’ phone seemingly sends Andrew in a bizarre frenzy where he warns Chris to “Get Out!”
After a short session with Rose’s parents, Rose’s father, Dean (Bradley Whitford), declares Andrew to be ok and explains his behavior as a result of a seizure. A doubtful and shocked Chris, decides to go on a walk with Rose and attempts to convince her to return back to the city with him that same night. While the couple is away on their walk, Rose’s father begins an auction where Chris is seemingly being auctioned off the highest bidder.
When Chris and Rose return to the house, they begin to prepare for their return to the city. While Chris packs for their departure, he stumbles across pictures of Rose with her previous partners, some of which happen to be the gardener, housekeeper and Andrew. Putting two and two together, Chris realizes Rose and her family are involved in a scheme where they lure black individuals and brainwash them.
Fearing for his safety, Chris insists to Rose that the leave immediately but when she shows her true colors and stops him from escaping he makes an attempt to confront the family. Before he can make a move on any of the family members, Missy uses her previously implanted hypnosis mechanism to incapacitate Chris. He is consequently moved into a room underground where he spends days strapped down to a chair altering between states of consciousness. At one point, he is allowed an extended period of consciousness where he is informed about the brainwashing process and how it is really a form of immortality that allows the Armitage family friends to transfer their consciousness into younger black individual. Before he is rendered unconscious for the last time for the procedure, Chris comes up with a way to block the hypnosis mechanisms and waits until he is unstrapped from the chair. Once unstrapped, Chris makes his escape from the house, killing Rose’s family on his way out. After an intense and bloody fight between the ex-lovers, the film culminates with an injured Chris being saved by his friend Rod William (LilRel Howery), whom Chris had been talking to periodically throughout the film.