After making a name for himself in both sketch comedy and horror/thriller movies, Jordan Peele seems to be on top of the world. He achieved the amazingly rare feat of writing/directing a horror film that was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars (and even won Best Original Screenplay).
So with the release of his latest film Nope, it inevitably garnishes comparisons to his previous movies, Get Out and Us. And it’s in the interest of that that we decided to (as objectively as possible) compare each movie and definitively determine which is best!
Round I – Characters
Just to be clear, all three movies have brilliantly written and acted characters. It’s one of the strengths of all of Jordan Peele’s films. So this round is going to be very close, and likely very contentious. The siblings from Nope are probably the most relatable, the family from Us does double duty playing the privileged surface-dwellers as well as the tethered.
But the edge has to go to Get Out for two reasons. The first being how essentially every line of dialogue from the sadistic, creepy family has a double meaning. And two, TSA agent Rod! He’s a hilarious audience surrogate that says everything we’re thinking and he’s without a doubt the most entertaining character from all three movies.
Round I Winner – Get Out
Round II – Story
While Nope is a great film in other aspects, it admittedly had the weakest plot, so this is really between Get Out and Us. The former is a twisted tale involving backdoor brain surgery and racially motivated body horror. And the latter is a nation-wide revolution in which blood is spilled by people who resemble…well us.
Both are fascinating storylines that are as dramatic as they are horrifying. And while Get Out has great twists and turns, the slight (and it is a very slight) edge goes to Us just for how elaborate and fascinating its ultimate premise is. We find that there’s an entire nation living underground who have finally decided to claim their rightful place up above. And the final twist involving Adelaide’s identity just about makes the whole movie!
Round II Winner – Us
Round III – Style/Tone
All three masterfully blend horror and comedy, at times even using humor to break the tension in the more disturbing scenes. The terror often comes suddenly and unexpectedly with a brutality you didn’t see coming.
Nope is a fascinating mystery and has sweeping cinematography (which we’ll get to), Get Out probably has the best sense of humor, but neither of them relish in their sense of dread the same way that Us does. Between its lighting, music, and the way the tethered family lingers and pops out of the shadows, Us is the kind of movie that freaks its audience out and stays in their head days after watching the movie.
Round III Winner – Us
Round IV – Technical Specs
With each film Peele directed, his skills as a director grew. Get Out won Best Screenplay and that’s very much its strongest aspect. Meanwhile, Us features an amazingly directed final confrontation between Adelaide and Red in the tunnels, cutting between their fight and them dancing as children.
However, we have to give Nope its due credit. Not only does it feature some of the best cinematography, but a good portion of it was shot in IMAX, and it definitely shows. There’s this grand epic feel done with mostly practical effects, and the CGI is good enough that you almost forget that’s what it is.
Round IV Winner – Nope
Round V – Themes
One of the most iconic features of Jordan Peele’s films is the social commentary infused within each of them. Get Out demonstrated how even seemingly well-meaning people can be condescendingly racist, while Us took class inequality and ran with it into murderous territory, while Nope tackles media sensationalism in the wake of mysterious and tragic events.
When it comes to this round, all three movies have deeper themes and ideas, but there’s definitely one that does it the best. Nope unfortunately loses its way a bit, and not everything winds up connecting that you would hope does. Get Out is brilliantly told, but ultimately Us does a lot more with a lot less.
It strives to be a horror film first, and if you never knew what the subtext was, you’d still enjoy it. But knowing makes it even more compelling and fascinating. The way that the tethered come to represent both classism as well as a duality in all of us gives the audience multiple ways to interpret that Peele’s other films don’t come close to.
Round V (and overall) Winner – Us
Which one do you like better? Let us know in the comments!