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The horror genre has been in a serious renaissance over the pat few years, partly due to releases that came from Blumhouse Productions. Rather than stale or overly gory sequels, new and exciting properties have been brought to theaters, making tons of money in the process. Perhaps the most notable is Jordan Peele's Get Out, which won an Oscar and showed the vision and directorial talent he had.
Jordan Peele followed up Get Out with Us, which was met with similar box office and critical success. Us was scarier than its predecessor, and relied more on horror tropes than thriller instincts. The music was a major part of the movie, especially ahead of its release. The tethered cover of "I Got Five On It" is bone chilling, and composer Michael Abels recently revealed the film's score was being worked on even before filming began. As he put it:
Jordan had me read the script before he had shot any of the film. This was a similar process to Get Out in that respect. Then, he is very conscious of the power of music and film, and particularly in suspense and horror. So, he’ll tell me the type of music that he’s thinking of, and, in the case of Us, he said, ‘Clearly, the whole story is about duality in both the mirror image and yet the alternate image, so why don’t you try experimenting with some sounds that don’t go together, a couple of deliberately unconventional choices, and see what happens.’ I did that and I came up with some demos, some examples of me just experimenting with things that I wouldn’t have otherwise experimented with if he hadn’t told me to go and play in that sandbox.
Once again, Jordan Peele is proven to be a methodical filmmaker, which is why both of his first two movies have resonated with audiences. There's special care taken to each frame, and that includes the music and sounds that accompany Us and its predecessor.
Michael Abels' comment to Uproxx shine a light on the creative process of Us, which pre-dates its principal photography and editing steps. Sound is a major aspect of horror production, which Jordan Peele definitely seems to understand. Music can set the tone of each scene, and elevate the terrifying and bizarre parts of the movie. Us does just that with its creep score, which buoys the tension of the movie as things descend (literally) into madness.
Get Out also used music in interesting ways, with a score that included Swahili music, as well as a suspenseful score. Meanwhile, Us used hip hop, and distorted the iconic track into a terrifying musical theme. Smart money says Michael Abels is brought on Jordan Peele's third movie, whenever and whatever that might be.
Us is still in theaters now. In the meantime, be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.