Magazine April 22, 2019, Issue

Jordan Peele’s Us and the Perils of World-Building

Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Evan Alex in Us (Claudette Barius/Universal Pictures)

One of the great challenges of genre filmmaking is figuring out how to handle your mythology. Over-explain the whys and wherefores of your fantastic or terrifying scenario and you might rob the story of its mystery; under-explain and you risk your sub-creation feeling like a hasty sketch. Borrow everything from genre lore and you risk reeking of uncreativity; strike out on your own and invent promiscuously and you risk coming up with something laughable or threadbare or simply fake-seeming rather than genuinely mythic.

Often the same director will experiment with different approaches from film to film, sub-creation to sub-creation. For Pan’s

This article appears as “Impresario of the Uncanny” in the April 22, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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Books, Arts & Manners




Readers write in on Patrick T. Brown’s essay on parenting and Jack Fowler’s piece on Mark Janus.


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