As an early morning Christmas gift, Universal Pictures dropped the first trailer for director Jordan Peele's new nightmare Us. A follow-up to Get Out, this has been described as a new kind of monster movie by the filmmaker. In a new interview released in conjunction with the trailer, Peele breaks down what we see in the first look footage, explaining the terror at the heart of this pulse-pounding thriller.
After sending shockwaves across contemporary culture and setting a new standard for provocative, socially-conscious horror films with his directorial debut, Get Out, Academy Award-winning visionary Jordan Peele returns with his Us trailer, teasing another original nightmare that he has written, directed and produced. Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, Us, from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe (Black Panther's Winston Duke), and their two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) for an idyllic summer getaway.
Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers (Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. Us pits an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves. These creepy creatures are known as The Tethered. So who are they really? Jordan Peele breaks it down.
"We're our own worst enemy, and that idea created this monster, The Tethered. 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."
One prominent element locked in the trailer is the use of golden scissors, which seem to be omnipresent when it comes to The Tethered. We also see a lot of rabbits, which recall other screen horrors such as Donnie Darko, Watership Down (which just got a remake on Netflix}, and Night of the Lepus. Peele has this to say about these elements in the movie.
"When we talk about the scissors and the rabbits, for every choice like that, there are several different reasons that clicked to me but 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. 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."
The Us trailer kicks off with the iconic Luniz track 'I Got 5 on It'. Jordan Peele explains his use of the rap song, calling it reminiscent of the Nightmare on Elm Street soundtrack. He also liked the dark undertones in what is a fairly upbeat song. It is haunting and not for kids, as he goes onto explain. At its heart, Us is an invasion thriller and it deals with the fear of strangers. Peele goes onto say this.
"I didn't want to make just a home invasion, though I utilized that imagery. I wanted the sense of an adventure that was not necessarily a claustrophobic one - that's a feeling that turns me off watching. I wanted to make this expansive, I wanted it to have themes of night and day."
Jordan Peele mostly wanted to make this movie because he's never seen this type of story with an African-American family in the lead. He compares it to such classics as Poltergiest and The Shining and The Amityville Horror, going onto express his love for early Spielberg movies.
"I love Amblin films, those Spielberg films that brought extraordinary situations to a family unit, and even though this movie is not about race, I felt like it was an important piece of the project to have a black family in the center. Get Out was one missing piece of the racial conversation"
Writer and director Peele produces Us for his Monkeypaw Productions alongside Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, and Monkeypaw's Ian Cooper. Us will be released by Universal Pictures on Friday, March 15, 2019. You can read the full quotes from Jordan Peele at Entertainment Weekly.