Jordan Peele Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o and her cast members, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex already had their work cut out for them with Jordan Peele‘s ‘Us’, as they had to play both the average Wilson family and their dark doppelgangers.  But Peele put a little more homework on Nyong’o’s plate, by recommending ten movies for her to watch in order to get into the proper headspace for this dark thriller.

Want to know what frighteners influenced ‘Us’?  Here they are:

Dead Again (1991):


Kenneth Branagh directed and starred in this thriller, in which he co-starred with his wife Emma Thompson.  If you’ve seen ‘Us’, your eyes will immediately be drawn to all those scissors!  There’s even a coffee table with scissors for legs!  It’s pretty clear what Peele was inspired by in this pic.

The Shining (1980):


Stanley Kubrick’s Stephen King adaptation is Horror 101.  Like ‘Us’ it takes place at a resort, although definitely a much chillier location.  ‘The Shining’ also centers on a family, as they become influenced by supernatural forces, with one of them being more attuned than the others.  Speaking of influences, Peele has credited this picture as one of his biggest.

Were the spooky twins in the hallway an inspiration for the somersaulting twin daughters of the Wilsons’ friends Kitty and Josh?

The Babadook (2014):


This creepy film boomed after it was released in DVD and Blu-Ray, gaining a massive following online.  The plot follows a widow, raising her son alone, who becomes haunted by what she thinks is a monster from a children’s book.  It has gained a reputation as one of the scariest movies in recent years.

It Follows (2015)


Another recent movie that many have praised for taking a fresh new twist to the horror genre, ‘It Follows’ uses a supernatural killer as an analogy for an STD, with the force being passed on sexually from one person to the next, but should the force kill a victim, it will then work its way back and go after the person that passed it to them and so on.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003):


More spooky twins appear in this South Korean import, about two sisters suspicious of their father’s new bride.

The Birds (1963):


Many have called Peele the new Alfred Hitchcock.  That may be a bit premature, but Peele– and ALL directors of horror– draw inspiration from the Master of Suspense.  While making this thriller, Hitchcock reportedly went to insane lengths to elicit true terror from star Tippy Hedren.  For extra credit, check out HBO’s 2012 movie ‘The Girl’, starring Siena Miller as Hedren and Toby Jones as Hitchcock.

Funny Games (1997):


Michael Haneke’s acclaimed home invasion thriller featured sadistic intruders dressed in solid white, which may have influenced the red-clad invaders in ‘Us’.

Ten years after the release of the German thriller, Haneke remade it with Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, and Brady Corbet.  The trailer is a nearly shot-for-shot replica of that for the original.


Martyrs (2008):


WARNING: The trailer kind of gives away the whole movie.

Nyong’o called this one of the scariest movies she’d ever seen.  A young girl escapes a slaughterhouse where she was held and tortured for an extended period of time, to seek revenge as an adult.  Like ‘Us’ this film involves secret underground chambers and the horrors that go on there.

Let the Right One In (2008):


This teen vampire REALLY doesn’t sparkle!  The true fright is that in 1998 someone in Sweden was still rocking a platinum Prince Adam pageboy haircut.

The Sixth Sense (1999):


The “I see dead people” bit has been beaten into the ground and spoofed so many times, it’s just become an ingrained part of our pop culture psyche, but at the time of ‘The Sixth Sense’s release, the wild twist ending pulled the rug out from under everyone’s feet.  Peele clearly drew inspiration from that for the climax of ‘Us’, but the journey to the ending was filled with even more twists and turns.

So there you have it.  The movies that Peele asked Nyong’o to watch to prepare for ‘Us’ in order to get into the right head space.  How many of these have you seen?  Can you see where Peele drew from these works for his own current hit?

Source: Entertainment Weekly