We're barely into the new year, and director Jordan Peele's latest movie is already topping the 'most anticipated of 2019' lists.
The reason? Well, the Oscar-winning Get Out filmmaker is back with seriously exciting new horror Us, which lines up a stellar cast and a characteristically provocative premise – could this rewrite the genre the way its critically acclaimed predecessor did?
Given the trailer landed over Christmas, we're rounding up everything we know so far about Us.
What is the storyline of Us?
As per the trailer, we're introduced to a black family (father, mother, two children) who are heading on a beach holiday. More specifically, they're heading to a place that held special significance for the (troubled) mother when she was younger.
With the family having greeted their white friends on the beach, the son becomes disconcerted by the sight of a bloodied man standing motionless on the sand. But the real horror begins later that night when the family are confronted by an entire group of sinister figures standing on their drive.
In a fiendish twist, it turns out the mystery figures are in fact doppelgängers of the family, whom Peele calls the 'Tethered'. Cue mayhem, identity crises and lots of nasty stuff involving scissors...
Who stars in Us?
12 Years a Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o leads as mother Adelaide Wilson, and her Black Panther co-star Winston Duke plays husband Gabe. Meanwhile, the two friends are played by The Handmaid's Tale's Elisabeth Moss and Ant-Man and The Wasp's Tim Heidecker. There's also a role (as yet uncredited) for Aquaman baddie Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Plus, The Shining star Jack Nicholson's grandson Duke makes his feature film debut.
That's quite a terrific line-up, and bear in mind that both Nyong'o and Duke have dual roles. Both actors turn on the crazy to play the demonic doubles of the persecuted family – cleverly, the names of the 'Tethered' are reversed versions of the standard character names. Hence, Adelaide and Gabe Wilson become Edialeda Nosliw and Ebag Nosliw.
Spooky... But what does it all mean?
What has Jordan Peele said about Us?
With his directorial debut Get Out, filmmaker Jordan Peele delivered one of the most exciting horror-thrillers in years. Blending Invasion of the Body Snatchers eeriness with lacerating social commentary about liberal racism, it was a chiller with humour and intelligence to spare, making a star out of lead Daniel Kaluuya.
Peele went on to make history by becoming the first African-American filmmaker to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. He now reunites with Get Out producers Jason Blum and Sean McKittrick (who also collaborated on Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman) for Us.
Nevertheless, Peele says the emphasis is slightly different in his new movie. Having picked the scab of racial discrimination, slavery and white privilege in Get Out, the director says Us isn't so much about racism as identity in a more general sense. In a conversation with Entertainment Weekly breaking down the new trailer, Peele explained his concept for the Tethered.
"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," he says. "I wanted to forge this new mythology that explored our duality and the duality of the characters. To the actors, I knew this was the ultimate fun because who doesn’t want to play two roles in a movie; when you’re tired in one, you get to jump into the other. But I think what was a fun challenge for actors, was finding the connections between the characters and their counterparts."
Peele was also quizzed about the idea of the home invasion, a recurrent construct within the horror genre: "I won’t say how far and all the places this goes to but I definitely wanted to do a movie that started with this sense of invasion, this sense of the fear of other, the fear of the stranger from outside, which I think is a common fear in society these days, and then sort of force the characters to realise the invaders have their faces. I didn’t want to make just a home invasion, though I utilised that imagery. I wanted the sense of an adventure that was not necessarily a claustrophobic one — that’s a feeling that turns me off watching. I wanted to make this expansive, I wanted it to have themes of night and day."
Is there a poster for Us?
There is indeed – and it sports the pivotal scissors imagery that, according to Peele, is joined in the movie by imagery of rabbits. Say again?
"I think rabbits and scissors, they’re both scary things to me," Peele tells EW, "and both inane things, so I love subverting and bringing out the scariness in things you wouldn’t necessarily associate with that."
What has Elisabeth Moss said about Us?
Only that we ought to be very, very excited. Describing the movie to Indiewire as a "thought-provoking popcorn movie," Moss adds: "All I can kind of say is, I’m obviously a huge fan of Get Out, as is the rest of the world, and I think this movie’s gonna be really good. I just think it’s gonna be good. It’s just gonna be really good, and that’s it."
Where can we watch the Us trailer?
Check it out below and get ready for Us when it's released on 15th March 2019.