Director Jordan Peele released the trailer for his new film, Us, the follow-up to his Academy Award-winning thriller, Get Out, on Christmas Day. The horror film stars Black Panther cast mates and Yale classmates Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as a husband and wife taking their family on a summer trip to their beach house when things go awry.
During a special screening of the trailer at the Bryant Park Hotel, Peele spoke briefly about what audiences can expect from Us.
“It has been a labor of love. It is a horror film,” says Peele, whose Monkey Paw productions is also producing remakes of the Twilight Zone and Candyman. “I dedicated a lot of myself to creating a new horror mythology and a new monster. I think that monsters and stories about monsters are our best ways of getting at deeper truths and facing our fears as a society.”
His first feature film, Get Out, won a best original screenplay Oscar in 2017 for turning the daily trepidation that African-Americans face at having our very bodies and culture co-opted for the white gaze into literal, grisly, kidnappings. While Us centers on a Black family—a rarity for the genre-- Peele insists that we can’t assume that white people are the antagonist this go around.
“Very important for me was to have a Black family at the center of a horror film,” he says. “It’s also important to note that this movie, unlike Get Out, is not about race. It is instead about something I feel has become an undeniable truth. That is the simple fact that we are our own worst enemies.”
The trailer opens with the Adelaide and Wade Wilson driving with their two children (played by Shahadi Wright-Joseph and Evan Alex) to their Beach House. Wade is bumping The Luniz 1995 hit “I Got 5 On It” (which is propped up by Club Nouveau’s “Why You Treat Me So Bad” from 1987) to the bewilderment of his children.
A leisurely time at the beach devolves into chaos as the Wilson’s are violently confronted by their own doppelgangers. Peele revealed to Entertainment Weekly that these crimson-robed antagonists are simply called The Tethered (which would explain the scissors). Is this a twisted tale of a cloning experiment gone wrong, or is this what happens when those multiple Gmail accounts you created to get new Tidal trials become sentient?
“It was important for me to not come off as a warrior in this film,” Winston Duke told EW, describing his character as a Homer Simpson-esque patriarch — a lovable dad, but flawed. “He’s very sporadic and impulsive, he’s the husband and the alpha, and I think that leads to some of the conflict that is in the marriage when we meet the Wilsons.”
Jordan Peele’s team has been dedicated to creeping fans out about Us from the jump. A week before the trailer, a poster featuring gloved black hands holding a pair of gold scissors was posted to social media. A few days later they sent out personalized leather-bound boxes of the scissors with a cryptic message to “Watch Yourself" as the only clue. The finishing touch was a holiday trailer drop, “because as families are sitting and celebrating the holidays they’ll get this nice, eerie, creepy ass gift.”
Unwrap the trailer to Jordan Peel’s Us. Below.
Photo Credit: Universal Studios