Movies that influenced Jordan Peele

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The Babadook by Jennifer Kent is one of the defining horror films of the 2010s. Amelia (Essie Davis) is a single mother living with her young son Sam (Noah Wiseman). Amelia harbors passive-aggressive feelings for Sam, whose birth was partly responsible for her husband’s d*ath. A mysterious pop-up book appears in Sam’s room, telling the story of a creature called “Mr. Babadook”. Sam becomes frightened of this character, and soon Amaila begins to feel the presence of the entity in their house.


Although, on the one hand, “The Babadook” talks about this “monster”, deep down it is a metaphor for grief. This approach to storytelling resonated with Peel, who described The Babadook in a video for Fear: House of Horrors: “It was just a movie about something different than what it was about, and it scared me to d*ath.”

In an interview with Mother Jones, Peel explained his opinion on the horror function: “In a horror movie, you create a metaphor. You create a personalized nightmare for the protagonist.” It’s no surprise that he’s a fan of The Babadook and how it combines reality and emotion with horror, as the film is heavily based on Amelia’s personal traumas and fears.

Understandably, Peel also takes this approach in his films, which are never about what they seem to be about, like in The Babadook. He’s such a fan of Kent’s modern classics that tweeted the entire plot of The Babadook using emoji and included it in her list of horror movies Lupita Nyong’o should watch to prepare for her role in Us (via Entertainment Weekly).


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