Why Jordan Peele's 'Us' is a new style of horror film
Academy Award Winner Jordan Peele's second directorial effort Us hit UK cinemas on 23rd March 2019.
Many have hailed it as an instant classic after its mind-blowing opening weekend, where it made over $70 million in the box office—making it the biggest opening weekend for an original horror movie of all time.
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The excitement surrounding the anticipated release of Us was REAL, especially considering the commercial success of Jordan Peele's debut, Get Out (2017). The directors' announcement of the film came with a trailer that utilised a haunting remix of classic '95 banger 'I Got 5 on It' by Luniz (which also features heavily in the film).
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) December 25, 2018
This excited audiences even more considering the unusual combination of styles, using Hip-Hop and horror to create a unique viewing experience. Audiences would be mistaken for thinking that Us would lean towards the mystery and thriller elements of Get Out—not ignoring the industries tendency to rebrand modern horror, Jordan Peele to take took to his Twitter to confirm that this was, in fact, a horror movie.
‘Us’ is a horror movie.
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) March 17, 2019
The premise at first seems simple, a family's relaxing vacation turns into a nightmare when their exact doppelgängers begin to terrorise them. However, this is not your usual slasher flick, with Peele being known for his social commentary on important issues such as race—Us reflects a deeper meaning within American class and power.
Unlike Get Out, race isn't central to the plot but there are undercurrents running throughout the film—mostly within the comedic aspects. Having a black leading cast isn't something that needs attention, they should be viewed exactly as what they are, a normal family.
A black cast at the forefront of a horror movie is something not often done, that flips assumptions about the genre on its head. Lupita Nyong'o plays the role of protective mother Adelaide Wilson beautifully, and she is equally stunning in her performance as Red—her doppelgänger. The performances of Winston Duke, Shahadi Wight Joseph and Evan Alex are all equally commendable, playing both versions of their characters perfectly. Both Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong'o had starred in 2018 in the hugely successful Black Panther, which also made headlines due to its importance in creating more black mainstream cinema.
As we follow the Wilsons, the story takes a lot of complex twists and turns (you will definitely have to be paying attention right from the opening frame to keep up with this one), leading the viewer down a rabbit hole of what fear of the 'other' really means.
Us is as haunting as it is entertaining, giving original horror a resurgence in mainstream cinema and cementing Jordan Peele's place as one of the new masters of horror. Grab tickets for Us now while its still in cinemas as you won't want to miss this experience, and forget whatever you think you know about this film.