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In 2017, Jordan Peele released Get Out, his directorial debut, and was met with a storm of praise and accolades. The film silenced any doubts about a sketch comic becoming a horror director and even earned Peele an Oscar for its screenplay.
Of course, it still remained to be determined as to whether or not Peele would be able to replicate his success and net another big win with a sophomore effort. That film is called Us and it was released a few weeks ago. Us follows a woman and her family on their relaxing vacation, which grows tense when a family that looks exactly like them comes to visit. Pretty quickly, that tension ratchets up to full-on horror.
Us opened to a thunderous boom at the box office, earning $70 million in its first weekend––a record for an original horror movie. It appears we have a new brand-name in filmmaking, joining the likes of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino as directors who can fill seats simply with the power of their own name.
Beyond just his marketability though, Peele is giving us something movie fans have been craving for decades: thoughtful, intentional horror movies with something to say. His movies aren’t just cheap thrills and haunted cell phones. Both of Peele’s movies have been jam-packed with social commentary, thematically perfect music selections, and spine-tingling moments that will resonate even after the credits roll. Every moment of a Jordan Peele movie is now something to analyze. Every board game in the background, every VHS tape on the shelf–they all mean something, and half the fun is in parsing through what those all suggest.
If Get Out announced Peele’s arrival, then Us has declared his staying power and audiences everywhere can’t wait to see what else he has in store.
I’m Evan Rook.