Get Out established Jordan Peele's status as a serious filmmaker, earning him Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, and it looks like his follow-up film, Us, is coming to cement that legacy.
The Oscar winner dropped the first trailer for his upcoming feature starring Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex on Christmas day. Check it out below:
According to the official description, the movie is set in present-day Northern California. Adelaide Wilson (Nyong'o) takes her family to her beachside childhood home for the summer. One night, after a tense day at the beach, the family sees four shadowed people in their driveway. The horror begins when they realize that the figures — named The Tethered — are actually doppelgängers of themselves. Here's what else we know about Us.
It's Not About Race
Get Out was a horror movie with strong social commentary about race right below its surface. Us similarly showcases black characters at its center, but Peele notes that race isn't key to this story in the same way.
"I can’t think of a horror movie of this nature with a family in the center of it that uses a black family," he told Entertainment Weekly. "So I knew just by putting an African-American family in the lead role, already we would be exploring cinematic uncharted territory."
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter before the trailer was released for public consumption, Peele noted that it was "very important" for him to have a black family leading the film, "But it's also important to note, unlike Get Out, Us is not about race. It is instead about something that I feel has become an undeniable truth. And that is the simple fact that we are our own worst enemies."
There's A New Monster
That thought led Peele to the creation of this new beast, he told EW. "I think the main idea that went into writing this film is that we’re our own worst enemy, and that idea created this monster, The Tethered," he said. "I wanted to forge this new mythology that explored our duality and the duality of the characters ... I think what was a fun challenge for actors, was finding the connections between the characters and their counterparts."
Prepare To Be Spooked
Staying within the classic horror genre was a priority for the filmmaker, so he included poignant imagery like scissors and rabbits. "The first test that anything passed was the genre test. So does it conjure the horror genre to me, which is a limitation that I feel very dedicated to working within," Peele said. "I think rabbits and scissors, they’re both scary things to me, and both inane things, so I love subverting and bringing out the scariness in things you wouldn’t necessarily associate with that."
And Get Ready For A Killer Soundtrack
Perhaps the bit of the trailer that made the biggest impact on viewers was the opening, when Duke sang along to Luniz's 1995 classic, "I Got 5 On It" — a song that is, despite what they say in the trailer, definitely about drugs.
Peele has not commented on Nyong'o's noticeably off-beat snaps, but he did explain the three reasons he included the hit in the movie. First, Luniz is from the bay area, not far from where the movie takes place, and so it makes sense that these parents would be sharing this music with their children. Second, Peele thinks there's a "haunting element" to the song. "I feel like the beat in that song has this inherent cryptic energy, almost reminiscent of the Nightmare on Elm Street soundtrack," he told EW. Finally, and most importantly, "it’s just a dope track."
Us hits theaters March 15, 2019.