Jordan Peele's latest horror film, Us, already has already impressed critics and given fans nightmares. But, perhaps the one thing that's more impressive than Peele's storytelling and knack for tapping into the darkest recesses of the human mind is his ability to put together an incredible cast of Us, led by Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke. The film centres around the Wilson family, who encounter alarming, vindictive creatures who look just like them while on a vacation with their friends, the Tylers, in Northern California. Throughout Us, each of the primary characters portrays two people: the characters we acknowledge being from the "real" world and their "Tethered" doppelgängers.
"I think the main idea that went into writing this film is that we're our own worst enemy, and that idea created this monster, The Tethered," Peele told Entertainment Weekly last December. "I wanted to forge this new mythology that explored our duality and the duality of the characters." While the film seems to focus on good vs. evil on an individual level, Peele told a panel at SXSW that the concept also pertains to societal groups.
"We are in a time where we fear the other, whether it's the mysterious invader who might kill us or take our jobs, or the faction that doesn't live near us that votes differently than we did," he said, according to Vanity Fair. "Maybe the evil is us. Maybe the monster that we're looking at has our face."
Peele's ability to make fans look inward at their own demons is, sadly, not the film's greatest accomplishment. Instead, Peele broke ground by being one of the first (if not the first) mainstream director to feature a Black family front and centre in a horror film, a feat Nyong'o praised in an interview with Rolling Stone.
"The subject of race is irrelevant to the experience that this family is going through. But the fact that this family exists in this particular genre and the legacy that is horror, that is the racial statement," she said. "The subject itself, what we're dealing with in the film, is something else. And that in itself is refreshing as well, that the experience of Black people is not always in context of their blackness. At the end of the day, Jordan [Peele], but putting Black people at the centre of his narratives, continues to expand our perception, our understanding of such people."