The past two years brought moviegoers some of the best directorial debuts in cinematic history. Jordan Peele released Get Out, Greta Gerwig packed a lot of emotion into Lady Bird and Ari Aster stunned horror audiences with Hereditary. Those three films in particular standout among the hundreds of films released this decade, but the films’ directors have a big feat ahead of them: overcoming the sophomore slump.
Peele was the first up. Us was released Friday, and it made more than $70 million in its first weekend. The film was rooted firmly in the horror genre, but it showed more of Peele’s personal tone. Us a socially conscious horror film just like Get Out, but it blends comedy and horror into a seamless production.
I’ve been asked, “Is Us better than Get Out?” I usually stop for a minute and think about that question. It’s not necessarily better, but it’s not worse. They are two different beasts. Get Out was more about the message it was presenting and less about being a through-and-through horror film, which is along the lines of Us. From Peele, we should expect more films like Us.
That idea of separating the two films should be applied to Aster’s upcoming film Midsommar and Gerwig’s Little Women. Both films will follow a similar feel as their debuts.
Midsommar is a horror film about a cult; spoiler, that’s exactly what Hereditary is about. But the look of the film is completely different. Midsommar appears to take place in the daylight, which will provide audiences with another genre-breaking format from the director.
As for Little Women, Gerwig will adapt the Louisa May Alcott novel starring some people from Lady Bird, including Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet. It’s still a coming-of-age film, but it takes place in the 19th century.
Sophomore films have always held an important part in cinema. Some of the most notable follow ups include Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Ridley Scott’s Alien. All three of those directors took their first film and honed in on their tones.
It’s natural to compare films from the same directors, but those comparisons should not dictate whether or not the movie is good. It wouldn’t be fun if a director made the exact same movie and just changed up the characters a bit. The director is supposed to grow and change, so comparisons of the films should be taken lightly. A director’s sophomore film shouldn’t be made out to be bad just because someone doesn’t like it as much as the director’s debut.
Georgia Davis is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What did you think of Jordan Peele’s Us? Tell Georgia by tweeting her at @georgiadee35.