Jordan Peele fans were excited to learn of his new release Nope which comes out later this month and has already toyed with fans' emotions through its action-packed and ominous trailer. The comedy star turned director has proven himself within the world of cinema, specifically horror as he creates satirical flicks that are as funny as they are terrifying.
Jordan Peele is famous for abandoning cheap scare tricks for representations of the real horrors that live amongst its viewers by often providing fans with clever social commentary. Whether it's a great white and a greedy mayor or the legalization of crime for 24 hours, these ten movies prove that the horror genre can play on the fears that viewers unknowingly live with!SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
10 Us (2019)
When it comes to social commentary within horror, Jordan Peele is one filmmaker that gets it to spot on every time, with many of his movies focussing highly on race. Us follows Adelaide and her family as they soon find themselves being stalked, attacked, and terrorized by their very own doppelgängers!
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Jordan Peele openly admitted that the Us had a much deeper meaning than just the fear of each individual having another self elsewhere in the universe. Instead, Peele sought to tackle otherness and created the same fear many still feel about those who may not look, act or be like them. By instilling the idea that it isn't different people should be scared of, but rather their ignorance towards diversity and race, Peele created a narrative that encouraged viewers to hold themselves accountable.
9 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The Silence Of The Lambs is one psychological horror movie guaranteed to mess with viewers' brains due to the chilling nature of Hannibal Lecter. This hair-raising thriller follows female FBI agent Clarice Starling as she takes on a new case that requires the help of a serial killer called Hannibal Lecter, who also happens to be an ex-psychiatrist.
Whilst it contains some horrifying stories, it is the movie's commentary on women that truly terrifies its viewers and leads to many modern fans questioning how much has changed since its release in 1991. It is made explicitly clear how isolated Clarice is in such a male-dominated industry that fails to take her seriously and continuously sees her at the center of gendered abuse, something the horrifying flick felt was crucial to the movie's plot.
8 Jaws (1975)
Jaws is considered one of the most iconic horror movies of all time and whilst it has gone to look a bit dated, the great white still packs quite the punch (or the bite). The movie tells the story of Amity, a small town that has fallen victim to a great white shark that haunts its waters before taking victims with it.
However, the terror doesn't just take place in the water but also on land when it becomes clear to the viewer that money is more important than the safety of others. The mayor is often seen looking stressed, not because of the violent killings in the water but because of the financial impact closing the beaches on a holiday weekend will have on both his town and his business. Despite being made in 1975, Jaws has sharp political undertones that highlight government greed and its frighting importance over lives!
7 The Invisible Man (2020)
The Invisible Man is one modern slasher movie that gives classic horrors a run for their money, with the movie combining sci-fi with the thriller genre. The movie sensitively but accurately represents domestic abuse by omitting the visible threat and creating a horror film that depicts the lasting effects domestic abuse can have on its victims.
The film cleverly employed signs of abuse like gaslighting, leading Cecilia to question her sanity alongside the people around her. The Invisible Man created a horror film that once again comments on the true terrors within mainstream society and encourages viewers to be mindful of the signs of domestic abuse.
6 The Purge (2013)
The Purge offered fans a warped dystopia where age-old traditions allowed all crimes to be made legal for 24 hours, ultimately leading to a yearly purge. This action-packed thriller built suspense by creating a feeling of constant threat as killers walk the streets knowing they will not be charged for any crimes they commit within that period.
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The Purge cleverly comments on the normalization of violence within America and how it continues to dehumanize the society in which many Americans live. The movie continuously toys with the class system whilst also convincing each political side to agree that a purge would be a bad thing, mirroring the potential future America could face if they continue to glamourize violence.
5 The Stepford Wives (1975)
Based on the 1972 satirical novel, the 1975 release of The Stepford Wives continues to be referenced within cinema even today. The sci-fi horror may toy with the white picket fence version of suburbia that old-time Hollywood used to promote, but it is its commentary on women that heightened the movie's level of horror.
The Stepford Wives sought to explore the importance of women, creating a world where women were essentially on earth to please men's desires. The movie used satire to strip women of their freedoms and saw how family life could essentially entrap women, highlighting the vital need for equal rights.
4 American Psycho (2000)
American Psycho is a thriller movie so complex that many fans had to make notes due to the movie's blurred lines between reality and fiction. Patrick Bateman captures the image of a wealthy investment banker but under his charming smile is an ego much more sinister than one could imagine, with the movie cleverly representing the impact consumerism has had on individuals.
American Psycho explores how materialism has taken over the bonds formed between humans, with every scene referencing Patrick's inability to see anything worthy of his time unless its products, ultimately resulting in his warped image of society mirroring its potential reality.
3 Don't Breathe (2016)
Don't Breathe left fans gasping for breath, with the movie looking like a typical home invasion due to the gang targeting a man who is blind as they think he's an easy target, but their plan soon goes south.
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By employing a main character who is blind, Don't Breathe captured the way society often sees a person's disability before them and immediately labels them as vulnerable or less capable. These attitudes were emphasized by the gang's opinion of their victim until he proves them otherwise, with the movie also shining a light on society's fear of otherness and their continued desire to villainize it, especially within cinema and television
2 Promising Young Woman (2020)
Promising Young Woman is one drama film that verges on becoming a horror film and when it comes to the movie's insight into the treatment of women within society, the movie is very much considered a horror. Cassie seeks revenge for the rape of her best friend by giving men a chilling experience guaranteed to make them think about their intentions.
From the offset, Cassie embodies the very anger many women feel towards society and creates clever scenes that home in on the experiences many women face, like cat-calling. It explores the role of victim-shaming and how many women are silenced due to status and money being more powerful than justice, but the film showcases how that very silence can be deafening by highlighting the guilt, horror, and penance that those who watch passively have to live with.
1 Get Out (2017)
Get Out is considered a modern masterpiece and the best example of social commentary within cinema, particularly in the horror genre. At first, the movie follows Chris as he prepares to meet his girlfriend's parents for the first time but in true Jordan Peele style, Get Out teaches viewers some very important lessons about race, racism, and modern slavery.
From micro-aggressions to code-switching, the movie delves into the realities that many people of color face within society today and includes a truly terrifying portrayal of slavery, resulting in many fans and critics labeling it as the most vital use of social commentary cinema has ever seen!
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Amy is a freelance list writer for Screen Rant where her content covers a variety of genres within the world of Film and Televsion. In 2020, Amy graduated with a first class BA Honours degree in English, Film and Television, majoring in Film and Tv. In her final year of study, Amy completed her dissertation which focussed on the representation of disability in horror films, specifically whether the new sub genre of sensory horror was replacing outdated cultural scripts with a more positive representation. Amy lives in the UK and works full time with children which she enjoys alongside her passion for Films, Tv and Writing!More From Amy Armsden