- Fox Searchlight
- Jordan Peele’s “Us” is a huge hit.
- Peele is a huge horror fan and recommended some essential films to his cast.
- We rounded up a few more to watch if you can’t get enough horror after watching “Us.”
Jordan Peele’s second original horror film brought in a record-breaking $70 million dollars in its debut at the box office, the largest weekend for an original horror movie, ever. The film is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 94% for its genuine terror, suspense, and twists, as well as its ability to make audiences laugh and ruminate on its larger themes.
There’s nothing exactly like it, but if you’re obsessed with “Us,” here are the movies you need to add to your list.
“Get Out” is required viewing.
Jordan Peele’s first full-length film, which follows a different direction that his latest, stars a young black man visiting the suburbs to meet his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. He can’t shake the feeling that her family’s awkward attempts to connect with him are more than just nerves and that something is off about the other black people in this town.
The movie put comedian Peele on the map as a new voice in the horror genre for its incredibly well-thought out script, unsettling tone, and real comedic moments. Plus the film snagged him an Oscar for best original screenplay.
“Funny Games” is a home invasion horror that inspired Jordan Peele.
- Warner Independent Pictures
Although the fireside chat from “Us” takes a page out of 2008’s “The Strangers,” “Funny Games” is one of the 10 movies that Peele requested Nyong’o watch, so they would have a “shared language” of film references.
The brutal 1997 version depicts two men terrorizing a family in their middle-class vacation home.
Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” shows what happens when a hidden force takes over.
Peele calls this Alfred Hitchcock movie from his shared language list “the greatest invasion movie of all time.” Although “Vertigo” is Hitchcock’s doppelgänger movie, “The Birds” creates a new world of fear when the creatures in a Northern California town decide to unleash upon the public, attacking them, like The Tethered.
“It Follows” is a fresh horror with an inescapable creature.
Adelaide’s speech to Gabe about how she can’t shake the feeling that something is always coming for her is the literal plot of “It Follows.” The monster in the 2014 film, also on Jordan Peele’s list for Nyong’o, can take on the form of any human, but is always following its victim until it feeds. No matter where you go or how far you go, the monster will always catch up, which is Adelaide’s greatest fear.
“The Transfiguration” is about someone not being who you think they are.
- Transfiguration Productions
Much of “Us” is about someone not being exactly who they say they are. “The Transfiguration” follows some of the same themes, following a boy named Milo who is obsessed with vampires. Throughout the movie, viewers are left wondering: is Milo simply a killer with a penchant for vampires or has he been cursed and is actually a vampire himself?
“The Lost Boys” was filmed on the Santa Cruz boardwalk in 1986.
- Warner Bros.
Peele left an Easter Egg in “Us” for ’80’s movies fans; when Adelaide’s mother points out a film crew on the Santa Cruz boardwalk, they’re shooting “The Lost Boys.”
The teenage vampire flick that threatens humans with a new class of vampires rising up and taking over was filmed at that exact location in the summer of 1986. It’s a pop culture time machine with ’80’s haircuts, the Coreys, and an epic soundtrack.
“C.H.U.D.” is another horror film with underground dwellers.
- New World Pictures
The opening message of “Us,” about the tunnels, could also apply to “C.H.U.D.,” which pops up as a VHS tape in the opening shot. Once-human monsters live beneath NYC, preying on people experiencing homelessness until they need to come to the surface to feed. The creatures are also by-products of a government conspiracy, turned monsters by neglect.
Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona” is an iconic psychological horror.
- AB Svensk Filmindustri
The 1966 Swedish film stars a nurse and her patient, an actress who has lost the ability to speak. The twisted thriller examines the intertwining lives of the two women and is significant in film history for defining the modernist horror genre.
The title comes from the Latin word for “mask,” and questions whether the two characters are connected or separate. The movie is a direct inspiration for “Mulholland Dr.” and leaves more questions than answers, like Peele’s latest.
Dance choreography takes center stage in the doppelgänger thriller, “Black Swan.”
- Fox Searchlight Pictures
Adelaide and Red’s dancer backgrounds created poignant parallel scenes as well as one of the most original creature fight choreography. The 2010 Darren Aronofsky thriller stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival dancers. It features lush “Swan Lake” choreography as well as unique fight choreography with dancers that calls into question the sanity of the star when she becomes obsessed with her doppelgänger.
Toni Collette delivers an incredible performance as the matriarch in “Hereditary.”
Like Nyong’o, Collette brings an emotional intensity and subtlety to her role as the family matriarch and leader. The two films both center on women who have inadvertently brought doom upon their families, and are destined to face it.
Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” has been a direct influence on Jordan Peele as a filmmaker.
- Warner Bros
Peele included this film on Lupita’s list for “Us” and as one of his favorite movies of all time. Before the premiere of “Get Out,” Peele said that the film’s horror magic was “subtlety, attention to almost a subconscious level of perception of something creepy going on. It’s just unsettling and I don’t think anyone’s really done a horror movie that well since.”
Jack’s breakdown in the film, and how his family deals with the supernatural definitely may have influenced Nyong’o’s research for both Adelaide and Red.
The other films that Jordan Peele asked his cast members to watch for production were “Dead Again,” “The Babadook,” “A Tale of Two Sisters,” “Martyrs,” “Let the Right One In,” and “The Sixth Sense.”