After producing modern horror gems like Get Out and Us, it is safe to say that Jordan Peele has established him as one of the most refreshing contemporary voices in the world of horror. Influenced by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick, Peele has managed to unsettle audiences with his strikingly effective artistic sensibilities.
Peele reinforced his status as a promising filmmaker by following up the unprecedented critical and commercial success of Get Out with a 2019 horror project. Titled Us, the film stars Lupita Nyong’o in a frenetic role that features a deadly attack on her family by spine-chilling doppelgängers. Like Get Out, Us was a huge commercial success and earned a box office revenue of $255 million.
In an interview, Peele explained: “I think a lot of people are catching onto the fact that there’s a lot of United States/American imagery in this. And the duality of this country and our beliefs and our demons, I think, is on display. But I think ‘us’ is bigger than that. And I think one of the reasons this movie has an expansiveness is because ‘us’ is subjective.”
Adding, “Everybody thinks of the term ‘us’ in different ways — it can be ‘us’ the family, ‘us’ the town, ‘us’ the country, ‘us’ humanity. I think in the simplest form, the very nature of ‘us’ means there is a ‘them,’ right? So that is what this movie is about to me, is that: Whatever your ‘us’ is, we turn ‘them’ into the enemy, and maybe ‘we’ are our own worst enemy.”
Us was described as a wildly entertaining horror flick by most critics as well as audiences, and it definitely lives up to that praise. It is also littered with a lot of fascinating Easter Eggs, most notably a recurring visual trope which showed each doppelgänger wearing a leather glove. According to Peele, that wasn’t just a fashion choice but a reference to three notorious figures – O.J. Simpson, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Jackson.
When asked about his decision to make horror films, Peele said: “I think it is connected to getting over my own fears: my fears growing up, my fears as a kid watching movies… if I got to sneak a horror movie at a friend’s house, there was nothing more I would want to do. And then of course it would keep me up at night. … And watching [horror movies] does that for me to an extent. But creating them, I think, helps me deal with fear and makes me feel stronger and braver.”
Peele recently co-wrote the screenplay for the 2021 Candyman reboot and is already working on a new project which will see him return to the director’s chair. Called Nope, the film will star the likes of Daniel Kaluuya as well as Steven Yeun and will be released in July, 2022.