Jordan Peele gifted fans on Christmas Day with the trailer for his next chiller feature, “Us,” showing a vacation gone horrifically wrong for the Wilson family, in which Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), Gabe (Winston Duke) and their children come under attack from sinister figures knows as The Tethered, doppelgängers of the family.
Here’s a breakdown of the plot:
Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family.
After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers (Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. Us pits an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves.
As part of EW’s exclusive first look into Us, Peele broke down the new trailer, which features Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It,” and he offered some insight into the monsters he calls The Tethered. Scroll down to read the Q&A.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you decide to use Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It”:
JORDAN PEELE: That song, it came pretty simple, I’m making a movie in Northern California, that’s a bay area hip-hop classic and I wanted to explore this very relatable journey of being a parent [and] maybe some of the songs you listened to back in the day aren’t appropriate for your kids. So that was one level, and another part was, I love songs that have a great feeling but also have a haunting element to them and I feel like the beat in that song has this inherent cryptic energy, almost reminiscent of the Nightmare on Elm Street soundtrack. So those were the ideas that that song hit the bullseye on for me, and also, it’s just a dope track.
Who are 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. 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.
What was the significance of the rabbits and scissors imagery?
I’m a filmmaker and film-lover that loves iconic imagery and what it could mean. When we talk about the scissors and the rabbits, for every choice like that, there are several different reasons that clicked to me but the first test that anything passed was the genre test. So does it conjure the horror genre to me, which is a limitation that I feel very dedicated to working within. I think rabbits and scissors, they’re both scary things to me, and both inane things, so I love subverting and bringing out the scariness in things you wouldn’t necessarily associate with that.
How far does the destruction span?
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 realize the invaders have their faces. I didn’t want to make just a home invasion, though I utilized 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.
Talk about your ideas for the Wilson Family?
I can’t think of a horror movie of this nature with a family in the center of it that uses a black family. So I knew just by putting an African-American family in the lead role, already we would be exploring cinematic uncharted territory – and I apologize if I’m missing something, which I probably am. I love films like Poltergeist, I love The Shining, The Amityville Horror and I love Amblin films, those Spielberg films that brought extraordinary situations to a family unit, and even though this movie is not about race, I felt like it was an important piece of the project to have a black family in the center. Get Out was one missing piece of the racial conversation and this is another one and we’re seeing a lot of great strides being taken by great artists like Ava (Duvernay) and Ryan (Coogler).