Jordan Peele’s love of horror and science fiction is evident throughout his work. Films like Candyman and Us appear to take traditional genre themes and pervert them into something new. His films, which are frequently laced and loaded with commentary and subtext, have gotten varied reviews, but he is a filmmaker with vision and devotion, making everything he does worth seeing.
In 2017, he gave audiences what many consider to be his best horror work to date. Get Out featured stark and startling imagery, brilliantly crafted moments, and a more sophisticated purpose behind the writing.
We should start with the obvious, Peele’s follow-up to Get Out. Peele would employ many of the techniques he had acquired in his previous big-screen production to create another perplexing slice of horror, peppered with some disturbing images and with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. A third-act surprise, similar to Get Out, left some viewers perplexed, making it a little more parallel to Get Out, but it seems reasonable to include it on our list.
Misery, based on Stephen King’s 1987 novel of the same name, finds ex-mafia rollerball player James Caan confined in a remote mansion by a mad fan. Although the plot is nothing from Get Out, the tone and themes are comparable. From the time Caan finds himself in the home of mad super Chastity devotee Kathy Bates, you know he needs to get out of there, but he can’t, leading to a suspense-filled shocker involving a sledgehammer and a caught Caan.
The Invitation (2022)
Here’s a film that might have been influenced by Peele’s masterpiece. Our protagonist, Evie, takes a DNA test and discovers a long-lost cousin she has never met. She is invited to England to attend a posh upmarket wedding in a gothic mansion, and we know it was a mistake the moment she arrives.
I’m not talking about lousy food and a freezing hotel room when I say Evie is trying to survive her English vacation. This picture tries too hard to scare and ends up causing inadvertent laughter as it falls under its own weight in the third act, but it still has fans.
The Visit (2015)
The Visit was a return to form for M. Night Shyamalan, the twist-obsessed roller coaster director. The premise was tight and focused, and the twist was earned rather than shoehorned into the script. Like Get Out, you spend a lot of time praying that the two young protagonists will make the decision to leave the house of their Grandparents while mom is away on a well-deserved holiday.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Mia Farrow plays the title character, Rosemary, in this tense and suspenseful slow burn of a horror film. Like Get Out, we have a protagonist who appears to be unconscious of the dreadful position they are gradually being imprisoned in, and as the film progresses, we get increasingly concerned for their ultimate fate.
The cult in Rosemary’s Baby operates in a similar manner to the one in Get Out, and its members appear to be ordinary individuals.
Farrow is superb in this role, balancing sensitivity and tenacity as she fights the awful scheme that threatens to swallow her. The last sequence is a horror classic that has often been mimicked but never duplicated.
The Wicker Man (1973)
This is classic folk horror by director Robin Hardy. Ex-equalizer and national treasure Edward Woodward arrives to Lord Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a little girl; however, when he arrives, no one wants to accept the tragedy, and he is greeted with hurdle after roadblock as he attempts to uncover the truth.
The audience is aware that dark powers are at work, and we want Woodward to escape, but the final heartbreaking scene seals his destiny when the conspiracy is revealed and all the elements fall into place. Jordan Peele, I think, is a fan.
The Stepford Wives (1975)
Another seventies classic and it’s worth remembering that this film was based on a book written by Ira Levin, who also authored Rosemary’s Baby. The scenario of a perfect suburban atmosphere, complete with ordinary-looking folks who hold a deadly secret, is quite similar to Get Out, thus this film must have been on Jordan Peele’s watch list.
Katherine Ross and Peter Masterson have excellent performances, and the film maintains a sense of building dread as we approach the disclosure. A terrific twist and a genuinely novel notion at the time make this a must-have on our list.
I feel bad for Jake Gyllenhaal; he always gives fantastic performances but never receives the recognition he deserves. In this underappreciated film, he portrays a professor who realizes he has a doppelganger. The unusual notion leads to a film that requires several viewings to comprehend its meaning, thus it has a similar vibe to Get Out in that regard. This is a mind-bending complicated thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve that may have slipped under your notice but is well worth seeing.
We should probably include an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Peele’s work must have been influenced by Hitchcock’s work, as the slow build and suspense in Get Out are comparable to Hitchcock’s technique. Hitchcock employs all of his techniques in Vertigo to create a complicated psychological thriller. Great performances, great graphics, and a fantastic score by Bernard Hermann make this an immersive and engrossing film, and Jimmy Stewart’s main role, acting against type, is superb.
Ari Aster’s shocking horror is yet another contemporary twist on the horror genre that enjoys a slow build to shocking moments. The picture, like Get Out, depends on mood and tone to show the audience that something is wrong with what we are seeing.
The film is atmospheric, dark, and brooding, akin to Get Out, with outstanding direction, striking images, and a surprising climax, and that was enough for us to include it on our list.