Jordan Peele was already a well-known commodity when he wrote and directed his first film, 2017’s horror-tinged Get Out: he served as a long-time cast member on Mad TV, the sketch comedy series, before co-creating and -starring in another, Key & Peele; starring in or showrunning a slew of other television productions – Fargo, The Last OG, Weird City, and, most recently, the latest incarnation of The Twilight Zone – followed immediately afterward.
But it was his recent feature-film turn that really garnered Peele a great degree of acclaim and fandom (including an Oscar!), and it was this newfound success in the horror genre that has led to his latest distinction: Halloween Horror Nights. Yes, that’s right – Us, Jordan’s second cinematic outing that just saw release this past March, is arriving as a haunted house.
Us tells the symbolism-heavy, somewhat-twisty story of a family making their annual return to their Santa Cruz lake house only to be the victims of a home invasion – by sinister-looking doppelgangers that are dressed in red robes, burnish large, golden scissors (which double as weapons), and which aren’t all capable of speech (or other everyday human actions). The exact relationship between the Tethered, as they’re called, and their counterparts forms much of the movie’s story, of course, but the life-and-death struggles of the two sets of families provides more than enough material to furnish a haunt with – especially when the narrative focus widens to reveal that a similar attack is unfolding against millions of other people all across the country in one giant, coordinated assault.
There are a few specific moments worth pointing out here. The hall of mirrors located in the boardwalk funhouse already has “haunted house” written all over it (and just might join another similar scene in Stranger Things), and the secret underground facility – replete with its large, free-roaming population of rabbits – is also pitch-perfect for a maze. But seeing the Tethered’s twisted recreation of the Hands across America event from 1986, in which one continuous human chain was attempted to be created across the continental United States for charity, is a definite candidate for one of the haunt’s potentially creepiest moments. When taken together with the film’s soundtrack (“Good Vibrations” has to be included, given the carnage of the scene that plays underneath it) and its score, which was composed by Michael Abels and is hauntingly beautiful, Universal just may have a massive winner on its hands for this year’s HHN.
And that already promises to be the case. The company is vowing to deliver not only the Wilson family beach house, but also the nearby Santa Cruz Pier, replete with its fun house (and a “familiar character” standing outside it), along with the miles of underground tunnels that connect to it. In addition, there are two further items from the press release that caught our interest, with the first being the little tidbit that the haunted house will start with Us‘s 1986 prologue (thereby delivering on Halloween Horror Nights 2019’s overarching ’80s theme) before progressing to the present day. And then there’s this exciting description of the film’s powerful climax:
Follow in the footsteps of Adelaide Wilson as she experiences a horrifying and traumatic encounter with her tethered double, Red. Watch her face off with her menacing mirror image in a deadly dance with a fatal ending.
Us will join Stranger Things, Nightingales: Blood Pit, Universal Monsters, Depths of Fear, Yeti: Terror of the Yukon, Ghostbusters, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, which runs for a record-breaking 41 select nights, from Friday, September 6 to Saturday, November 2.