Writer-director Jordan Peele’s latest horror offering, “Us” – which hits digital June 4 and disc June 18 — opens on a seemingly endless wall of caged rabbits, a promise of future symbolism. The slow and agonizing zooming out and the screeching music, driven by a chorus from hell, invokes an anxiety I haven’t felt in a long time. I felt this fear in snippets throughout the movie, although the pinnacle of the horror is the beginning. Despite this — and the surprising mixing of genre signals — I thoroughly enjoyed Peele’s followup to the 2017 classic “Get Out.”
CBS All Access’ new version of “The Twilight Zone” is certainly putting itself out there. Using the name of the revered Rod Serling series (1959-64) that hasn’t lost its cachet despite all the times it has been resurrected (this is the fourth series by that name), the new series is demanding attention but also setting the bar high. The network has made the pilot episode available for free on YouTube. But like the titular “Comedian” of the episode, its confidence is misplaced and unearned.
“Get Out” (now available on pay-per-view streaming) is the latest example of how a horror movie can be an effective vehicle for making a social statement. When I read the Amazon description that notes the race of the characters – a Caucasian girl brings her African-American boyfriend to meet her parents at their lake house – I hoped that was merely the starting point, because I wanted a few good scares more than a message. Race does end up being central to the story, but in such a sneaky way that I ultimately rate “Get Out” a near-masterpiece of “Twilight Zone”-esque storytelling.