Jordan Peele uses new style, blends comedy with horror

To acknowledge and criticize society’s biggest problems, director Jordan Peele creates movies using a perfect mix of horror and comedy. After the release of three Peele-directed horror films, it is clear that he is doing something different; and it’s working.


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By using his knowledge of comedy and horror, director Jordan Peele combines the two genres to make an emotional cinematic experience for the audience while also getting a larger point across.

Beginning his career as an actor, writer and producer for several comedy shows, Peele has worked his way up the industry. Building himself a large platform to express his style of horror, while subtly addressing society’s problems through hidden meanings. 

Peele began his directing career in 2017 with the movie “Get Out.” This film scored a 98% in rotten tomatoes and had an audience score of 86%. This movie follows the story of Chris, a young black man, and his white girlfriend. They travel upstate to meet her parents, the Armitage’s, and from the very first interaction things seem off. As the weekend progresses Chris meets her entire family and all of their old white friends, each one seemingly more racist than the last. Chris and the Armitage’s two servants are the only black people for miles, but Chris is the only one of the three that is normal. As Chris discovers more secrets about the family he comes to the conclusion that he has to leave immediately.

Peele’s “Get Out” uses what I like to call a horror pattern. A cycle used in most horror movies that builds suspense, has a jumpscare and then gives the audience time to process what happened before repeating. What makes Peele’s work so special is the humor. Usually relying on one character. In “Get Out” that character is Rod Williams, played by Lil Rel Howery. His character always has a funny comment and acts as comedic relief throughout the film. 

Another aspect that makes Peele’s films amazing is the subtle calling out of society’s problems. In “Get Out,” Peele wanted to remind the audience of the history of slavery. He wanted to show us that society’s problems in the past are not gone but merely forgotten. 

This is shown in the movie when Chris is told that the basement door is locked because of “black mold.” In this case, the mold represents slavery and racism in old-America and the door represents society withholding and trying to keep quiet of our horrible past. 

According to Peele, most people today are still racist, they just don’t mean to be. He displays this issue in the film through the white family’s overuse and emphasized use of the word “black.” 

Another aspect of Peele’s directing that makes him stand out is the names of his films. The name “Get Out” comes from a scene in the movie where a hypnotized black man who is held captive in his own body is temporarily released from his trance and warns Chris to, as you could have guessed, “Get Out.”

Peele’s second horror release “Us” hit the box office in 2019. Scoring a 93% in rotten tomatoes with an audience score of 60%. This film features an African American family that visits the mother’s childhood home, where as a young girl she went missing for 15 minutes and returned a completely different person (foreshadowing). The family experiences weird coincidences throughout the day and at night they are paid a visit by four masked and hostile individuals. Once unmasked the family sees themselves. These people refer to themselves as “The Tethered.” 

“Us” is a very similar film to “Get Out.” Both use the same horror patterns and comedic relief. In this film, the comedic relief comes from Gabe Wilson, played by Winston Duke, who is the father of the family. He uses snappy comments as well as a high amount of dad jokes that are so unfunny that it’s hilarious. 

“Us” addresses the “monsters” society creates through oppression. Similarly to his first film, Peele wanted to show how the past follows us through history. This is displayed in the plot through the whole “Hands Across America” segment about raising money for people in poverty. At the time the problem was declared “fixed,” when indeed it barely made a difference. To this day, society forces people into inhumane situations and when those people become the worst image of humans, society labels them as “monsters” when in reality, society is the real monster. 

The film gets its (once again) brilliant name from a line in the movie and because it represents us; the audience. The real monsters are not those forced to become monsters but those who force others to. “Us,” we alone are the monsters in society. 

Peele’s third and most recent release is “Nope.” With a score of 82% on the Tomatometer and an audience score of 69%. This film features a family-owned horse ranch in California. After the mysterious death of their father (hit by a key falling out of the sky), OJ and Emerald Haywood take over the ranch. After noticing something strange in the clouds, they decide to purchase surveillance cameras throughout the property to catch footage of what they believe to be a UFO. After several more encounters, they learn how the thing (later dubbed the Jean Jacket by OJ) behaves, and it grows agitated. After being tormented and almost killed by the “UFO” they create a plan that involves a world-class cinematographer to capture this thing once and for all. 

Although similar to the others, “Nope” is very different. It uses the same horror methods as “Us” and “Get Out” but the comedy is different. Instead of relying on one person as comedic relief, Peele uses every character. Whether it’s purposeful jokes, thinking out loud or a mysterious man of few words, every character has an opportunity to make the audience laugh. 

Another go on comedy in this movie is the title. “Nope” gets its name from perhaps the funniest line in the entire movie. In a very intense moment, OJ decides to mind his own business and not mess with an unknown, very powerful being, and in doing that mumbles to himself the title of the film, “Nope.”

Perhaps the biggest difference in this film is the fact that there is not a deeper meaning to the plot. Although people have dug deep into the story and discovered a few potential meanings to this movie, Peele has repeatedly said to the press that there is no deeper meaning. “Nope” is just a fun summer horror movie and that’s it.

Jordan Peele never ceases to amaze me. His highly-rated movies always leave my expectations overflowing and my heart thumping. I usually end most of his movies with the most confused and surprised face anyone has ever seen but in the end, confusing or not, Peele’s films are just enjoyable. He is a maker of cinematic masterpieces. He is a horror expert and he is a comedy expert. 

Jordan Peele never ceases to amaze me. His highly-rated movies always leave my expectations overflowing and my heart thumping.