While Jordan Peele is a lifelong fan of horror movies, he knows that not everyone shares his enthusiasm for the genre which more often than not contain blood and guts and death and calculated scare tactics. With his directorial debut Get Out, however, which is a hit with critics and at the box office, he set out to make a horror movie that would be accessible to everyone — even those who don’t typically enjoy the genre.
“One thing I love about the reactions, I’ve got a lot of people saying, ‘I don’t like scary movies but I’m into this,’ and that’s cool for me because I think horror is fun and it doesn’t have to be disgusting,” he tells PEOPLE. “It doesn’t have to make you walk home terrified, it can be a fun collaborative experience, so I love that.”
The film follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black man who travels with his white girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) to meet her parents and spend a weekend at their remote, suburban home where Chris slowly discovers something isn’t quite right about the goings on in the neighborhood.
Peele says that the film, which he describes as “the horror version of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” and “The Stepford Wives meets The Help,” also received early approval from his horror-movie adverse wife, Chelsea Peretti, so he knew he was onto something.
“My wife is very honest, so she doesn’t mess around,” he says. “When I showed her the cut and she loved it, I knew I had something cool. She’s also literally not a horror fan, so it’s good to have a wife whose opinion I can trust.”
Peele says his favorite kinds of horror films are “social thrillers” that play upon the thing he finds to be most terrifying: human beings.
“I think the scariest thing to me is humanity, it’s people,” he reveals. “It’s what we’re capable of when we have permission from the people around us. We’re capable of the worst monstrosities that any kind of demon you can drum up in the film, so this one, sort of taking on the ideas of racism, is just one example of that. But I plan to do more movies that explore the human demon, as I call it. It is dark, we are dark. We have the ability to scapegoat. Our fear can drive us to destroy somebody for fear of being on the wrong side of the mob.”
The actor/director also insists that with all the scares and bad people doing bad things, Get Out is a great date movie.
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“It is! There’s a love story at it’s core,” says Peele. “But I think the trick here for me was to take a movie that sounds like, ‘Ooh, I don’t need to see that,’ but make it work for everybody, whoever they are. That’s what I was trying to do.”
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But given the way things play out in the end of his film (no spoilers!), we shouldn’t expect a Get Out 2, should we?
“What are you talking about? Hells yes we can!” says Peele. “I’ve got many ways we can do a sequel. That’s also my whole creative makeup is to say if this is an impossible story to tell, figure out how it’s possible, that’s what we did with this one and so yeah, never say never. And Get Out is a good second viewing.”