jordan peele - us

Right now, SXSW is taking place in Austin. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the festival, it has taken place every year in March since 1987. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the festival to celebrate film, tech, and music. So what’s happening at SXSW so far? To start, Jordan Peele took the stage to present the world premiere of his new horror film “Us”. Peele joked that he was going to show four back-to-back episodes of “This is Us”, which is an entirely different genre altogether. But of course, that’s not what happened. “Us” is Peele’s follow up to “Get Out”, and have had people on the edge of their seats since Christmas when the trailer dropped.

The trailer certainly left us asking some questions. Like what’s up with the scissors? How much does Luniz’s track “I Got 5 on It” really have to do with the movie? But the big question that we should be exploring is whether or not this movie lives up to its hype? The short answer is yes. SXSW moviegoers might be a big more enthusiastic than other groups, and they’re eager for a night out. More than that, “Get Out” mixed humor and chills, but in “Us”, Peele’s comedic roots are more prevalent than ever before. On Friday’s screening, the crowd was laughing at one moment and then screaming the next, and would soon be cheering after that.

One of Peele’s goals is to leave audiences wondering. During a Q and A, he made the following statement:

“My favorite thing is the idea that people will leave ready to have a conversation with whoever they’re with. I also wanted to design a film that’s very personal for every individual.”

Jordan Peele, “Us”

But let’s talk about the film for a moment. The film is about a family (headed by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) who go on vacation and end up being stalked by doppelgängers of themselves and their kids. After “Get Out”, it was hard to know what kind of film Jordan Peele would bring us, and based on the trailer, it was quite scary. But people’s reactions at the screening suggest that they loved it. Peele certainly has a way of scaring people, and making them want more.

“Us” doesn’t let out the social metaphor quite the same way as it did in “Get Out”, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in there. Peele told festival-goers that the film is fundamentally about America’s misplaced fear of outsiders. More specifically, stating:

“This movie is about this country. We’re in a time where we fear the other, whether it’s the mysterious invader that we think is going to come and kill us and take our jobs, or the faction we don’t live near, who voted a different way than us. We’re all about pointing the finger. And I wanted to suggest that maybe the monster we really need to look at has our face. Maybe the evil, it’s us.”

Jordan Peele, “Us”

But does any of that need to be said? Even though Peele is still novice in terms of the number of films that he’s made, if “Us” is even half the film that “Get Out” was, then it’s sure to be an incredible hit. “Us” hits theaters starting March 22, which means you do have to wait a few more weeks. But hey – you only have to wait a few more weeks!