By now, Jordan Peele has become a household name for horror fans. Upon the UK release of Peele's third directorial feature film, Nope, we look back at his career so far and pinpoint why this is one of 2022's most anticipated releases.
Written by Becca Johnson / August 12, 2022
Comedy lovers will likely know Peele for his more light-hearted work. Back in 2003, himself and Keegan-Michael Key were cast together in Mad TV, an American sketch series, due to their chemistry together. On this show Peele performed many celebrity impersonations, eventually leaving the show after five seasons. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for his 50 Cent parody song in 2008, appeared in Little Fockers in 2009, starred in 2010 comedy pilot The Station and had a small supporting role alongside Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in movie Wanderlust (2012). It wasn't until 2016 that Jordan Peele starred in and produced Keanu, a movie alongside Keegan-Michael Key, that received good reviews and solidified the pair as comedic gold for many. After reading the above, horror may seem like an unlikely genre for Peele to direct. When he was announced as the writer and director for Get Out (2017), a psychological horror, many were as hesitant as they were excited. However, he quickly proved that we needn't be worried.
Get Out (2017) tells the story of Chris, who travels up-state with his girlfriend to visit her parents for the weekend. The family's behaviour firstly appears to be an overly accommodating way to deal with their girlfriends interracial relationship, but soon turns into something far more sinister as Chris begins to make shocking discoveries. Get Out is widely known amongst film fans to be one of the greatest modern psychological horrors, and perhaps even one of the best of all time. It's terrific performances, terrifying twist and thought-provoking, unique social commentary ensure it is both enjoyable and memorable.
Film Focus Online's favourite scene features a harrowing performance from Lakeith Stanfield as Andre, as Kaluuya's character Chris takes a photo of him. The flash seems to snap him out of whatever spell he is under, causing Andre to freak out and worriedly tell Chris to 'get out of here'. It is one of the first scenes we get that show's danger may be afoot, and it works tremendously well.
Two years later came Us (2019), Peele's sophomore horror feature; whilst it may not have impressed as much as Get Out, it undeniably amped up the horror and social commentary. When Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) and Gabe (Winstom Duke) take their two kids to their beach house to unplug and unwind, terror looms when uninvited guests arrive. Sound like something you've seen before? Fear not. The guests terrorising Adelaide and her family have the exact same appearances as the family members themselves. Us has scares aplenty, mainly stemming from Nyong'o's jaw dropping performance as creepy clone 'Red'. The family's fight for survival is high stakes, entertaining and fast paced at all times, but as we have come to expect from Peele by now, there is far more to it than mere home invasion. It's scary, it's thought provoking and every technical aspect is terrific. With gorgeous cinematography, a killer soundtrack and stellar performances from a cast who are often playing two characters, it's an unmissable flick.
Film Focus Online's favourite scene of course has to be when we meet the 'tethered' – the Wilson family's doppelganger's – for the first time. Nyong'o's monologue is spinetingling.
There is a lot riding on Peele when it comes to Nope (2022). After two incredibly successful horror movies, fans are expecting no less than genius. Even though he has directed just two horror flicks, he has already established a signature style for himself. He goes for a multi-depth approach, often adding themes of racism, trauma, privilege, society, fear and repression. There is always something to look for within his scripts, and his message is often strong and important. He is also known for bringing the best out of his actors, featuring career best performances from Daniel Kaluuya, Caleb Landry-Jones, Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke and Betty Gabriel to name a few. His movies also include fantastic original scores, Us standing out the most for its chilling rendition of Luniz' 1995 track 'I Got 5 on It'. The performances, themes and score, mixed together with the impeccable cinematography, editing and sound make Peele's movies an absolute blast.
Nope, a story that see's residents of a lonely gulch of inland California bear witness to an uncanny, chilling discovery hits UK cinema's today, Friday 12th August. Will it live up to the hype? Let us know your thoughts.