Movies & TV / Columns

Will Jordan Peele’s Us Be a Horror Game Changer?

March 23, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Us Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele’s Us brought in $7.4 million in Thursday previews, which is an impressive feat for an R-rated horror movie that isn’t a sequel and isn’t based on a book.

Speculators are speculating that the movie could do between $45-55 million for the weekend. Again, impressive numbers. On top of that, critics and fans are liking the movie so expect it have some legs at the box office.

But what kind of impact will if have on horror movies…hell, movies in general?

I’ve seen articles saying you shouldn’t say Jordan Peele is the “next” anything. He’s the first Jordan Peele and should be acknowledged as such. After only two films, that last time I’ve seen this much buzz surround a director is with M Night Shyamalan.

At the 90th Academy Awards, Peele’s debut movie, Get Out, earned four nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya. Peele became the third person to earn Best Picture, Director and Screenplay nominations for a debut film, and the first black winner for Best Original Screenplay.

In his review of Get Out, Richard Roeper said: “the real star of the film is writer-director Jordan Peele, who has created a work that addresses the myriad levels of racism, pays homage to some great horror films, carves out its own creative path, has a distinctive visual style—and is flat-out funny as well.”

For Us, Monica Castillo of wrote: “Us is another thrilling exploration of the past and oppression this country is still too afraid to bring up. Peele wants us to talk, and he’s given audiences the material to think, to feel our way through some of the darker sides of the human condition and the American experience.”

What’s becoming apparent is Peele is delving into familiar territory but giving it a tweak that makes it feel somewhat new. From building tension to gripping scenes of violence, Peele’s horror hits the right beats with a brand new rhythm. I’m not saying he’s inventing something new, but it has the feel of something seen with new eyes. His movies are creating discussions not usually broached when discussing scary movie.

Talking about impact, what can we expect if/when Us has a stellar box office run?

More movies with social messages? Reinventing old cliches? More original works making it to the big screen? Maybe studios giving new directors the leeway to make movies more in tune with their vision?

“The way Jordan works is he has this kernel of an idea and an incredible script that he’s always refining. He’s an improviser,” said Us‘Lupita Nyong’o. “The more we did, the more we found out about these characters, the more he developed it as we went along. It was an always changing process until the very end.”

What’s interesting is that even before Peele offered Nyong’o the part, he asked her about her process and what she needed from a director. “It actually brought me to tears. I was like, ‘Nobody has ever asked me that,” recalls Nyong’o. “No director had.”

Peele is an interesting puzzle for Hollywood. People love a come up story but they don’t want the story to be too good. What do you think about Peele and his movies?

article topics :

Jordan Peele, US, Steve Gustafson