Chic Cinema with Emma: Jordan Peele’s “Us” and the genre of Horror


I do not want to go into so much detail on the plot of Jordan Peele’s film “Us,” because part of what makes it so good is the discovery process along the way. I believe he wants the viewers to be taken along for a ride, so I will do my best to be vague about narrative while still trying to convince you to go and see this film. Even if you aren’t a fan of horror movies, this film offers a lot to the viewer, in addition to fear. We get complex characters, worlds, and themes, in addition to the creepiness of the narrative that follows the viewer through the watching experience. Part of what is so good about this film and the fear it instills, is that it never lets the audience off the hook of being afraid. Even when you think there is nothing left to fear, Peele shows you that there’s a good chance you’re wrong.


There is so much in this movie that it warrants multiple watches. Jordan Peele uses references from growing up in the 80’s, as well as recurring symbols to further the plot of this film. One of my favorite symbols throughout the film is rabbits, so keep your eye out for them and how they factor into the visuals and the plot. Also the whole film is visually compelling and a few scenes stick out particularly to me, which are the title sequence, the escalator moment, and everything on the lake.


I could not talk about how good this movie is without talking about its amazing cast. Every single actor was so well chosen for each role and every character felt alive and full;however, none more so than Lupita Nyong'o, who absolutely nails the role of Adelaide throughout the film. When Adelaide is confronted with her alternate self, Red, that is when the audience can really see and feel the full power of her acting ability. Both Red and Adelaide look the same, but their mannerisms, even small ones, provide the audience with key differences between the two characters.


In addition to creating great plots and characters, Peele continues to center marginalized people in his narratives. By doing this, Peele can complicate the audience expectation of the horror genre, as well as provide greater representation in his own work. And by providing the audience with a representative film, Peele can also create his own world in this piece, one that closely resembles our own, but has a few differences. But dedication to the setting, as well the dedication to the authentic experience of character, only allows for the story plot to continue to become more and more real for the audience. What’s tricky with horror movies and what often separates good ones from great ones is the ability to make the viewer believe this is all possible or that it could happen to you tomorrow. Peele’s film does just that— making it a great horror film, and a great film overall. Go see it in theatres, you might regret it if you don’t.