Jordan Peele Opens Up About The Box Horror Fans And Critics Put Him In: ‘That’s A Trap’

Jordan Peele in The Twilight Zone.
(Image credit: Paramount Plus)

Jordan Peele has been labeled the king of psychological horror since Get Out was released in 2017. Films like Us and Nope appeared to cement that status. But it’s not one that Peele has been comfortable with. Starting as a comedian on shows like Mad TV and Key & Peele, the director has more to offer the moviegoing public. Being put in the horror box by both fans and critics led to the Get Out director labeling the suggestion a trap.

The celebrated director’s work is held in high regard by critics and fans for their messages, which he found intriguing. Peele mentioned to The Verge that the prestige label wasn’t something he sought as he felt his work was more specific to his perspective rather than nuanced with its social commentary. The Oscar-winning screenwriter vented his frustration about being stuck with the label.

I don’t want people to think that I’m trying to make ‘elevated’ films. I think that’s a trap that I don’t quite appreciate because I, you know, I like making fucked-up films. I like making weird movies that I’m really just not supposed to make — and sometimes challenge people on the other side of things as well.

He’s done with the prestige labels. Like any creative, Peele wants to create without any meaning or pressure being heaped upon his work. The filmmaker is just into making weird movies with a personal touch. He rebuffed a fan calling him the best horror director. So not seeing his films as sophisticated horror falls right in line with his previous statements. It makes sense considering his first notable film Keanu was a buddy comedy. He just doesn’t want to be known as just the horror guy.

But this discourse surrounding Peele and the meaning behind his work pops up every time a new film comes out. Nope was no exception to this perception even splitting critics in the process. That movie's leading lady Keke Palmer got to witness these divisive online discussions firsthand. The Lightyear star thought the feedback from others had more to do with their personal feelings than Peele’s movies.

The thing about your films is that the observations are so impactful that I think they double people over. And it’s us that come to the theater like, ‘I want to be able to take this observation and know what to do with it.’ [That feeling] challenges me; it puts me to the task because I know when Jordan puts his movies together and does his artistry, it’s based off of something that he felt.

Even Palmer can feel the personal connection between Peele and his films. He already talked about the running theme of orphans in his films as seen in Nope and his recent film Wendell and Wild. So, each film is an extension of Peele rather than being the high-concept horror most critics and moviegoers have labeled.

After scoring his third box office hit with the sci-fi blockbuster, Jordan Peele switched gears with Wendell and Wild, a stop-motion animated film. The film allowed the filmmaker to merge his love of horror with his comedy roots. Viewers get to see schoolgirl Kat Elliott fight to save her town while battling her demons – figuratively and literally.

It is currently unknown what project Jordan Peele has in store next. You can watch Nope through an Amazon Prime Video subscription until his next project is announced. After you stream the sci-fi horror film, go and watch Wendell and Wild with a Netflix subscription.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).