Jordan Peele's horror-thriller Us will premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival, ahead of its release in theaters. Having already made his name as a comedic actor/writer thanks to Key & Peele (a sketch series he co-created and starred in with Keegan-Michael Key), Peele made the jump to directing films in 2017 with the original horror-thriller Get Out. The project was an unexpected smash-hit at the box office and ultimately earned Peele an Oscar for his script, which combined horror storytelling with often dark humor and commentary on racism in America today.
For his followup Us, Peele has returned to the horror genre for a movie about a couple - played by Black Panther's Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke - who take their children (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) on vacation to their beach home, only to encounter themselves... that is, twisted doppelgängers of themselves who seemingly want to harm them. The film has been generating hype since it was announced and the (excited) buzz only grew louder after the creepy Us trailer dropped on Christmas Day last month. Now, the film is set to generate even more anticipation with its world debut.
The SXSW Film Festival has confirmed that Us will premiere at the 2019 SXSW and serve as its opening night film, when the event kicks off March 8 in Austin, Texas. SXSW's director of film Jane Pierson release a statement as part of the announcement, saying "We are crazy excited to world premiere the most anticipated film of 2019 from the creative powerhouse the brought us Get Out. We honestly couldn’t imagine a more perfect film to kick off the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.”
Traditionally, SXSW has served as a launchpad for genre movies and TV shows to start generating buzz, ahead of their premieres in either theaters or on the small screen. In 2018, for example, A Quiet Place premiered at SXSW and got the hype train rolling for John Krasinski's monster horror-thriller a few weeks ahead of its theatrical release. The event isn't necessarily limited to mid-range fare like A Quiet Place and Us either; in fact, just last year, Steven Spielberg's big-budget adventure Ready Player One screened as a "surprise" Sunday night event. Nevertheless, a showing at SXSW is usually an effective way for original genre offerings or adaptations of popular source material (see the American Gods pilot, which premiered at SXSW 2017) to get more people talking about them, generally for the best.
Indeed, Peele and his MonkeyPaw Productions' decision to unveil the film at SXSW bodes well for Us. Since the movie is generating plenty of buzz as is, this suggests Peele and his collaborators are confident about their latest project, and are ready to show it off as soon as possible. Get Out certainly set a high bar for Us to clear, but it's a manageable task - not to mention, one that Us seems up to, based on the footage released so far. If all goes well, Peele will be two for two as a horror filmmaker, by the time Us arrives in two (or so) months.
Source: SXSW Film Festival
- Us (2019) release date: Mar 22, 2019