Spoiler Alert: ‘Us’ Changed Horror Genre

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a horror movie with an intriguing storyline and an unexpected plot twist. With recent releases of horror movies like Jordan Peele’s “Us,” though, there has been a shift in the horror genre.

Before, horror movies used tactics to scare the audience like overdone jump scares and topics primarily concerning the supernatural. Now, horror movies are less about scaring the audience, and more about making them think.

“There’s this demand for more smarter horror movies. I think people are getting a little tired of the pop-out cliché movies,” said Jordan Bedgood, a California Lutheran University senior film emphasis and avid movie-goer.

The recently released film “Us” depicts the story of the Wilson family who are terrorized by their doppelgangers, also known as “the tethered,” who are seeking justice on their counterpart living above ground.

The movie is riddled with “Easter eggs” that hint toward an underlying meaning.

In an episode of the Empire podcast, Jordan Peele said the theme of the movie is duality. Peele said the tethered represent those that are disenfranchised and ignored. He said the movie suggests the “monster is us.”

The film’s protagonist Adelaide demonstrates this duality. It is revealed that the audience has actually been following the supposed villain, which raises the question of what makes one good or evil. These realistic and complex themes are what make films like “Us” terrifying.

However, what’s even more terrifying is Peele’s way of leaving the film open to interpretation.

“They’re paving the way for a more intellectual way of horror genre…and how there’s more of a conversation happening like with horror reflecting societal issues and politics,” Bedgood said.

Something that has been rare in horror is creating meaningful and reflective conversations. Peele’s method of making reality the basis for horror has sparked intrigue for viewers in dissecting every scene to see how it plays a role in the overall theme.  

“Seeing everyone’s theories online about what each thing means in the movie, like the symbolism and underlying metaphors,” Bedgood said. “That was equally as fun as watching the movie.”

Yolanda Arciniega