Jordan Peele’s Descent into Psychological Horror
In early 2017, comedian Jordan Peele burst onto the horror scene with Get Out; an unsettling body snatching flick with overt undertones about social issues pertaining to race in modern America. The film addressed controversial topics, such as racial profiling, interracial relationships, and slavery. However, it was not merely an analysis of the plight of Black Americans that dripped in social justice—it was a damn good horror movie that stood on its own two feet. While other horror films at the time, such as It, Annabelle: Creation, and Happy Death Day, relied on the traditional unstoppable monster elusive serial killer to drive their thrills, Get Out steered its viewers into the fields of the psychologically disturbed by unveiling a story about a cult of old and wealthy White elites that stole the bodies of young and healthy Black Americans so that they can live on; mentally. It was a plot so gripping that it won Peele an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, as well as nominations in Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for lead Daniel Kaluuya. Get Out placed the former Key & Peele star as one of the tentpoles of modern psychological horror, and it seems that Peele is going to keep this hot streak going with his next film, Us.
Peele’s next foray into cinema follows a family of four on a summer trip to their beach house. However, they are soon visited by a group of four strangers who are revealed to be their evil doppelgängers that have the intent of killing them. The family must now survive their own worst enemies: themselves.
The film offers yet another glimpse into Peele’s mind. If Get Out dealt with the loss of one’s own body, Us deals with the loss of one’s own identity. Many may not think about how much we rely on things that we categorize as uniquely our own. No one in the world can look or think exactly like “us,” and the film seems set to prey on that false sense of security. The doppelgängers not only look like their main characters, but can think like them as well. Every escape plan or defensive retaliation that they can think up, the antagonists are already one step ahead. It’s an incredibly interesting premise, and Peele has proven that he has the chops to properly execute a concept that complex. The film Us is set to release March 15, 2019.
That being said, Peele’s future prospects are not placed solely on the big screen. This year will also see the premiere of the rebooted Twilight Zone anthology series that will be hosted by Peele and released exclusively on the CBS All Access streaming service. There isn’t much known about the rebooted series, but the ad aired during Super Bowl LIII showed that Peele and his team are keeping closely to what made the original series so appealing: intriguing mysteries and stories that set out to change how the audience views the world. The Twilight Zone is set to release April 1, 2019.
-Derek Luat Tran