Jordan Peele on What Makes Us Different
What is Jordan Peele’s Us really about? This is the question that been’s intriguing fans and film lovers alike since the film’s title was released. His Oscar-winning, game-changing directorial debut Get Out was hard to categorize. The consensus on how to label that brilliant debut landed on calling it a “social thriller.” It was a film that managed to be many things at once (laser sharp social critique, existentially scary thriller, laugh-out-loud funny comedy ) and yet function, pretty much perfectly, as a single film. His success with Get Out was so next level that folks understandably wondered what kind of genre-bending he’d be doing with his next feature.
When the first trailer for Us finally dropped it became clear that Peele had made a horror film, full stop. The trailer begins with the opening bars of Luniz’s iconic classic “I Got 5 on It,” with parents Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) and her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) taking their children on a vacation. The Wilson’s vacation soon turns into a nightmare when the family is stalked and terrorized by monsters—their own doppelgangers. Hence the title Us. So people clammored—what does Us mean?
Peele has finally given us a few clues in an upcoming interview with Empire. Obviously, he’s not going to go give away much, but at least we have some sense of what the writer/director had in mind.
“The movie itself is answering that question. I can’t say it’s not specifically about race, but I don’t want to go too deep into its meaning because it’s there for everybody to discover on their own. There hasn’t been a horror film about a black family, that I can remember. I think that’s an important thing to note. We have a lot of films in this genre where a family meets a monster, but the fact we’ve never seen a black family in that situation is a problem to me. There’s a presumption in the industry that if black people are the leads in a film it has to be in some way about race. I wanted to show that we can push past that.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Peele said the reaction to Get Out, albeit one of universal praise, wasn’t exactly what he was going for.
“I’m such a horror nut that the genre confusion of Get Out broke my heart a little. I set out to make a horror movie, and it’s kind of *not* a horror movie.”
With Us, Peele has made an unambiguous horror film, one that Rolling Stone writer Brian Hiatt calls “spill-your-soda scary.”
Us will premiere at SXSW on March 9, and then will release wide on March 22. Be prepared to be scared.
Featured image: “Us.” Courtesy of Universal Pictures.