Jordan Peele and his Influence on the Horror Genre
One of the best horror movie directors of the decade
As a major film fanatic and even more specifically, a major horror film fanatic, Jordan Peele has changed the game for everyone in the business. As an aspiring horror film writer, he has made me have to step up my game for the better. With his directorial debut, Get Out (2017) he opened many oblivious eyes to the reality of black people in America. This take on the horror/psychological thriller is outstanding which made it good enough to earn him an Oscar for best original screenplay. It also showcased some lesser known talent in Daniel Kaluuya (who I have loved since his days on Skins.) He also takes the slasher film to new lengths with his newer addition Us (2019). This film takes the stereotype of having the single black person in the film be a secondary character who is usually killed quickly or off screen by making the main character and most of the cast black and the secondary characters in the film be white. Having Lupita Nyong'o be this slasher film's final girl is what made this film better than it already was.
There is a history of racism in the horror genre so having someone like Jordan Peele step up and become such a big part of the modern horror genre is so important. As I mentioned above, there is a tendency for the black character to be meant for tokenism or as a simplistic secondary character. Often, this character dies first so we don't get to know anything else about them other than a basic quality like they were a jock or a nerd. He takes this stereotype, especially in Us with having it be the other way around.
He not only improved a genre that often gets hate for its cheesiness but he did so well at doing this that the film gets nominated for many prestigious awards, winning one. He makes it award winning which is incredible and something I look up to. He has been around in Hollywood for quite a long time but was only known as a funny man and part of the duo of Key and Peele (2012-2015). Coming from the skit comedy scene background which is so niche and completely different from horror was an unexpected but pleasant surprise.
His writing is something that has inspired me throughout my own writing. The horror genre is often a pretty predictable in what will happen in the end. The killer comes kills off everyone but this one girl who you knew was gonna be the one survivor. It's the same old, same old. Jordan Peele does not use this formula. You don't know what is around every corner and you're scared to find out which is what you are supposed to feel while watching a horror movie. Jump scares don't always work so that is something he doesn't use to the extreme and tends to try and scare you more through the atmosphere of the film. He uses this in Get Out well since this movie may be considered more of a thriller than horror but you still are considerable uncomfortable and nervous for the main character throughout most of the film.
As I said, Jordan Peele may just be the most influential director and writer for horror of the past five years (at least) and is someone I'm sure many aspiring writers, like myself, look up to him. He is someone that I hope to be able to take inspiration from and write great horror films just like him. I hope his place in Hollywood inspires other young writers to do the same.