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First things first, Happy Christmas! And if you haven’t unwrapped your surprise present from Get Out director Jordan Peele yet, you can watch the trailer for his new film Us below.
The timing of the trailer drop was very much planned by Peele. “The trailer going out on Christmas day is very exciting to me,” the director says. “Because, as families are gathered around the fireplace to celebrate the holidays, hopefully they can look on their phone, see this trailer and I’ll scare the pants off them.”
Mission accomplished, we’d say. We were lucky enough to see the trailer a week early, so we’ve had plenty of time to analyse every moment, and we think Us could be the biggest horror movie of 2019. Here’s five things you need to know about it.
Us could launch a new horror franchise
“I wanted to make a horror mythology, a new monster, a film that will terrify as much as entertain,” Peele told us at the trailer screening.
Horror mythology basically means franchise, especially one with ‘a new monster’ at the heart of it, which is really exciting – it’s been a while since we had a monster-led studio franchise, and the premise at the heart of Us – a family is attacked by evil versions of themselves – is universal enough to essentially go on forever. And it’s not as if we’re going to get Get Out 2 any time soon.
Us could have a ‘90s vibe
“That’s a classic right there,” Winston Duke’s unnamed character tells his kids while ‘I Got 5 On It,’ a song by American hip hop duo Luniz, plays out on the car radio.
The song was released on May 23, 1995, bang in the middle of the ‘90s, and we think Peele’s telling us something in his new trailer’s opening. We expect Us to have a ‘90s horror tone.
Another clue? The trailer boasts that this is ‘a new nightmare’ from Peele, which sounds like Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, the meta Nightmare On Elm Street movie released in 1994.
And with Peele producing / co-writing the Candyman reboot, another ‘90s horror classic, we’d expect him to start talking about the importance of 1990s horror cinema around Us’ release.
If Us truly is the start of a new horror mythology with a fresh monster gnawing at the heart of it, Candyman meets Freddy Krueger sounds good to us!
Us might be about cloning
While Peele didn’t reveal anything directly about the film’s plot, we can glean from the trailer’s clues that the creepy villains at the heart of Us could have a scientific origin, not a supernatural one.
All those weird shots of a very clinical looking space with a bunch of rabbits running around says ‘scientific experiment gone wrong’ to us.
And there’s a good chance Us involves cloning (did our lead family submit their DNA to some kind of clinical trial, which was used to clone them, and now their clones want to replace them?), going by the premise.
Whatever the story is, a scientific plot would tie the film directly to Peele’s other horror movie, Get Out, which was also about evil (if more unlikely) science.
But Us is different from Get Out in a very major way….
Us is not about race
Peele was clearly steering the conversation away from race, which makes sense – Get Out was very-much an exploration of modern attitudes towards race, whereas Us simply features black characters. It’s an important difference.
“It was also important for me to put a black family at the centre of a horror movie,” Peele said. “Because I haven’t seen that before. That being said, it’s important to note that this movie is not about race.”
So, what actually is Us about?
Us is social, not political
“It is about something that has become an undeniable truth, as far as I can see, about all of us. The simple fact that we are all our own worst enemy,” Peele said.
So, it’s social, not political – going wider than Get Out’s focus on metaphorically exploring the modern black experience in America, to examining our relationship with ourselves, in a very literal way. Except, you know, with explosions, monsters, and jump scares.
It’s a genius horror high-concept that we’re really surprised hasn’t been done before (outside of science-fiction / fantasy), and it’s one we can’t wait to see on the big screen when Us is released in UK cinemas on 15 March.