With Get Out, Jordan Peele revealed himself to be a filmmaker fully formed, with clear vision and scope, and really no improvement needed. So his sophomore effort, titled Us, is both highly anticipated and scrutinized, as we want the next dose of his particular brand of horror, but also to see if Get Out is a fluke. Hint: Get Out is not a fluke. The trailer for Us is here, and it is atmospheric to the point of vague, but Peele’s now-recognizable style is on display. Quality music selection, images that homage without directly ripping off any one thing, an increasingly unbearable tension—all Peele fingerprints.
I’m not interested in solving for x, because as we learned with Get Out, the joy of a Jordan Peele film is letting it happen to you and working out the meaning and symbolism later. But I see riffs on horror movies such as The Strangers and Funny Games (either version), so it’s a home invasion story with some twisted underlying premise. And I see the recent It Follows in that lurking figure on the beach, so perhaps there is something in the story that can be caught, or passed on, some curse or imprint that can’t be shook. But we really don’t need to know the details. Even knowing the scissor-wielding invaders are called “the Tethered” feels like too much. This trailer could have just been a series of unrelated images and I’d still be into it. I just want to see what Jordan Peele does next, I don’t need to context.
But I might need to hold Lainey’s hand to watch this. She texted on Christmas day that she didn’t think she could sit through it. Kathleen, too, wasn’t sure she could even watch the trailer. My gauge must be broken, because Us—trailer or movie—doesn’t look THAT scary. Get Out wasn’t that scary, it was just really creepy and then wild at the end. But Peele understands the impact that can make on us, which is what makes his filmmaking so effective, so I fully expect Us to be a tense, maybe nervy, probably upsetting two hours.