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Jordan Peele Subverts Horror Expectations Every Time

Fans of horror swarm social media and forums whenever Jordan Peele hints toward a new project. 

His first feature film, Get Out (2017), subverted audience expectations of a thriller, and that set the bar even higher for his subsequent films, Us (2019) and Nope (2022). Every time, Peele manages to catch many of his viewers off-guard.

Peele knows what audiences will expect from him and how to deconstruct these expectations to blow their minds every time. Sometimes, the twist in his films is that there’s no twist, yet people expect one through and through.

In a time when audiences are spoon-fed answers to a film’s secrets and plot twists, over-explanation and exposition have made them expectant.

When a film leaves things up to their imagination, it can either unsettle the audience, or leave them hungry for more. Peele manages to twist our minds with his screenplays.

Peele’s cinematic inspirations can be traced to Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan. In particular, critics have called Nope the spiritual successor to Jaws (1975) in many ways.

He has personally admitted his primary influences being Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and the aforementioned Steven Spielberg, and M/ Night Shyamalan.

A recurring trope in Peele’s most recent projects is the use of Bible verses as a symbolic motif regarding the film’s intended message.

Us featured Jeremiah 11:11 throughout the film as a cryptic reference to the nature of the Tethered. It could be that the Tethered are suffering.

Nope quotes a chilling Bible verse from the book of Nahum in its intro. “I will cast abominable filth at you, make you vile, and make you a spectacle,” followed by one of the film’s signature scenes. Nahum 3:6 is an Old Testament verse relaying a prophetic vision related to the fall of Assyria at the hands of the Babylonians.

The movie provides social commentary on spectacle and Hollywood’s treatment of exotic animals.

The trailers and the marketing behind Nope kept audiences guessing what horrors Peele would unleash upon the big screens. In particular, he created a website resembling the film’s fictitious theme park, Jupiter’s Claim.

If anything, Nope cemented Peele’s directorial stride. People are now aware of what he’s capable of doing, and excited to see what he does next.

He has been nominated of four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay for Get Out. He also received nominations for British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and even won a Primetime Emmy Award.

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