Transitioning from skit comedy to a frightening indie horror film is not a simple step. Something which Jordan Peele has appreciated in recent months. His directorial debut comes in the form of Get Out, a 2017 title that attempts to include themes of racial inequality around the horror genre. To support the script, the film stars Allison Williams, Daniel Kaluuya, Erika Alexander, Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener.
Peele has spent many years alongside his friend and fellow comic Keegan-Michael Key for the hit television show Key & Peele from Comedy Central. The pair linked up for a role in the FX series Fargo, giving some experience outside comedy. But this departure from the 37-year old is an ambitious move, a choice that has already paid off at the Sundance Film Festival.
JP Frightened By The Human Monster
Creating such dark subject matter, was this an area that Peele was curious about for some time? Speaking with The Playlist, the actor/filmmaker argued that the scariest movies for him explore the darkness inside each individual.
"It came of a lot of ideas, but I think first and foremost I’m really interested in the idea of the social thriller," he remarked. "That, to me, is another way of saying that the darkest monster to make a horror movie about is the human monster. We are, when we get together, as destructive, evil, and scary as any sort of fictional demon. This is my first exploration of that notion, and it obviously involves race in America."
But for Peele this was not a spur of the moment project, admitting that the genre is a personal favorite.
"The answer to the question is I’m a horror fan. It’s my favorite genre. It’s one that I want to make more movies in, and I feel like I’m finally getting to do what I’m best at. I’m a serious horror fan, and a movie that sort of inspired it are movies like The Stepford Wives, Rosemary’s Baby, and Night of the Living Dead. Really, films from the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s that had a distinct style to them."
Subtle Horror An Art Form For Peele
While overt horror can be pulled off by any director with access to special effects, Peele believes that the best installments have the ability to fright the audience without necessarily going over the top with the amount of blood and gore moviegoers can be subjected to.
"Like I said, I like to call it a social thriller," argued Peele. "That’s the style of movie I like as well. I like there to be a cerebral element. I think it’s hard to make, but there’s a way to make the thrills and the scares interwoven into the fabric of the script as opposed to just hitting us with violence or gore. The Shining is one of the greatest movies of all time, and certainly a total influence in that they have so many images that are terrifying but while at the same time having certain subtlety or obvious artistry to it. That’s my style as well."
With a premise that involves a young black man being introduced to a white family overlapping some sensitive social topics, Peele did not set out to make a film that was intended to be controversial or arouse discussion.
"I made the movie that I thought would be my favorite movie I’d never seen. When it comes down to it, I’m sort of serving myself," Peele admits. "That being said, I think the movie is inclusive, and I think that there’s a universality to it. I think the real goal besides for people to be entertained and to enjoy going to the movies to see this, I want what you just said. I think it would be great if many thoughts and conversations were spawned by it. I wouldn’t say making people uncomfortable is the goal. I want to make people entertained. I want to give people a fun time, which sometimes includes a little bit of a tonal challenge."
Get Out debuts February 24, 2017 in the United States.
Source: The Playlist