What We Know About Jordan Peele’s Us Thus Far
Jordan Peele, I love your mind.
If there was someone who was my horror aesthetic soul mate, it would be Jordan Peele. Since the Oscar-winning Get Out, he has slowly transformed himself into a Hitchcockian type, helming the rebooted The Twilight Zone, co-screenwriting and producing the Candyman reboot, and now his hotly anticipated follow up to Get Out, Us.
The song “I Got Five On It” dropped on the trailer, giving us new reasons to play it and another reason to thirst after Winston Duke and Lupita. People have been looking for clues over every inch of the 3-minute trailer, including the theory that Lupita’s character being off beat is a hint (or just finally representation for the non-rhythm black women of the world). While I’m personally staying away from spoilers, I have been reading Peele’s interviews to get some more background into the project, including the Rolling Stone interview.
“Get Out is existentially terrifying; Us is spill-your-soda scary. It’s the tale of a family facing off with unsettling doppelgängers of themselves, which Peele calls the Tethered — he means them to be a “monster mythology,” in keeping with Universal’s Frankenstein/Dracula/Wolfman tradition. He’s taking some mischievous pleasure at the prospect of freaking out some of Get Out’s more genteel fans.”
Peele says that Get Out is more of a “social thriller” type of horror movie, in the vein of The Stepford Wives or Rosemary’s Baby. “As a horror fan, I really wanted to contribute something to that world.”
With the Tethered, Peele wants to create new additions to the “monster mythology,” that includes a black family, without race being a key element to the horror, outside of the general reality of what it means to be black.
“It’s important to me that we can tell black stories without it being about race,” Peele says. “I realized I had never seen a horror movie of this kind, where there’s an African-American family at the center that just is. After you get over the initial realization that you’re watching a black family in a horror film, you’re just watching a movie. You’re just watching people. I feel like it proves a very valid and different point than Get Out, which is, not everything is about race. Get Out proved the point that everything is about race. I’ve proved both points!”
One of the many inspirations for this idea comes from the old Twilight Zone episode “Mirror Image” where a woman named Millicent encounters a mirror duplicate of herself in a bus station. It exposes a parallel universe in which Millicent believes she is being hunted by this copy in order to be replaced. “It’s terrifying, beautiful, really elegant storytelling,” Peele says, “and it opens up a world. It opens up your imagination.”
More than anything else, I’m excited about seeing what Peele comes up with. While I love his mind, I also don’t want people to put him on a pedestal where he isn’t allowed to fail. As quickly as we have praised him, I can see people being “disappointed” if this new movie isn’t perfect and I think that is frustrating.
I hope that Peele is allowed to excel as a visionary, but also allowed to just make schlocky genre films that can still have value without being social commentary. I’m interested to see how Peele’s doppelgänger horror unfolds.
Us premieres at SXSW on March 9 before opening on March 22.
(via Rolling Stone, image: Monkeypaw)
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