Jordan Peele Explains Why “Idyllic Landscapes” Are Scarier
The Motivation behind the suburban settings in ‘Us’ and ‘Get Out.’
In both Jordan Peele’s horror triumphs – Us and Get Out– the action does not unfold in go-to horror locales (bustling cities fraught with crime or basement cellars featuring flickering lights), but out in the open. In broad daylight. In a suburban town. Mayhem breaks loose in “your good Christian neighborhood.”
So, what is it about these setting that Jordan Peele finds so provocative? Why did he choose a serene beachfront in Us and an upper-middle-class dwelling in
Jordan Peele sat down with MTV New’s Josh Horowitz to discuss his motivation behind these decisions. Peele explained why he feels these settings are superior.
Jordan Peele was inspired by ‘The Stepford Wives,’ ‘Jaws,’ and ‘The Shining’ for ‘Us’ and ‘Get Out’
Peele told MTV News:
“Horror movies that…take place in dark, dusty, muddy houses or basements, it’s kind of like meh. But, the horror movies that take place in idyllic environments – The Stepford Wives, The Jaws’s, even The Shining – the horror you can get from delight and places that are supposed to be vacation, I think that they’re eerier, scarier. There’s a more satirical horror to them. But also, they kind of give their audience their cake and they get to eat it too. They get to kind of go own an adventure. A vacation…So, that’s my style.”
Peele – focusing on the satirical element, as well as the eeriness associated with an environment that’s supposed to bring peace – reminds viewers that horror is not confined to an innately dangerous location. But rather, it exists out in the open. His approach is closer to the truth; thus, his horror movies conjure a subdued fear that many of
Jordan Peele discusses the idea of “the other” in ‘Us’ movie
*Minor thematic/revelatory spoilers ahead*
In Us, it becomes obvious, definitely by the end, that the film is an elaborate allegory, highlighting the human tendency to separate ourselves into groups – “us” vs. “them.” While questioning the idea of “other” and our innate drive to assume those within our group are good, and those outside of it are bad, the film reaches a height that many horror movies fail to achieve. Its subtextual strength makes this movie one of the greatest horror accomplishments in years.
Speaking on the concept of “other” and the relationship between the 2016 election and the movie, Jordan Peele stated:
“I didn’t set out to make a movie about a post-Trump America, but it’s not an accident that…my fears were surrounding this sense of “us” as a collective, our demons. Certainly I, at a certain point, decided to use United States imagery, from…whether it’s the genocide of the Native American people or our xenophobia and privilege. But, however you define us, in order for you to have us, there’s got to be them…In its core, what this movie is about, is, we will value our own however we see fit more than we’ll value the other.”MTV News
Jordan Peele’s genius comes from his ability to take socially relevant topics, and fashion a commentary in the form of horror. While many horror movie creators set out to do the same, few succeed. He happens to be one that does.
If you have yet to see Jordan Peele’s Usand identify as a horror movie buff, it’s time to get on over to the theatre. This one simultaneously keeps you at the edge of your seat, while beckoning you to question society and where the world is today, as opposed to where you would like to believe it is.