New Amazon series ‘Them’ labeled a Jordan Peele ripoff


Well, get out.

“Them,” a new Amazon Prime TV series executive produced by Lena Waithe, has been roasted by fans comparing it to Jordan Peele films, specifically the horror movies “Get Out” (2017) and 2019’s “Us” — which broke box office records for the horror genre.

A trailer that debuted Monday — ironically, exactly two years to the date when “Us” hit theaters — shows a black family moving into a home in what seems to be a predominately white neighborhood in 1950s America.

“It’s bigger than it looked in the pictures,” comments the family matriarch, portrayed by Deborah Ayorinde.

“You couldn’t imagine a nicer place to live,” says a voiceover ominously. Things take a haunting turn when white neighbors begin to spew out racist vitriol at the young family.

“This is how it begins. With one family,” comments a blonde housewife, played by Alison Pill, who promises to make things “worse” for them.

But these folks are much more sadistic, as they deface the family’s home and front lawn with effigy hangings reminiscent of a Jim Crow-era lynching. The family is then forced to defend themselves against the extreme hatred and cruelty which threatens their existence — and even some otherworldly monsters that haunt them.

The show, which is also executive produced by Little Marvin, has fans labeling it a “knockoff” and “copycat” of Peele’s past work while another pointed out it’s “both Jordan Peele movies combined.”

A scene in Jordan Peele's "Us" (left) and Amazon Prime's "Them."
A scene in Jordan Peele’s “Us” (left) and Amazon Prime’s “Them.”
Universal Pictures; Amazon Prime

“This feels like someone whos never seen a Jordan Peele movie describing what a Jordan Peele movie is like,” one commenter wrote.

“Jordan Peele has given us two black horror movies and now they’re copying him already,” added another.

One Twitter user even poked fun at the series’ title, “they even ripped off the ‘Us’ title and called it ‘THEM.’ “

"Them" on Amazon Prime has drawn early criticism.
“Them” on Amazon Prime has drawn early criticism.
Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

One fan was angry that the show is directed by a “white man.” And while the 10 episodes have one black director, Janicza Bravo, IMDB lists the remaining nine episodes as directed by white men.

Others who appreciate Peele’s work suggested that there’s plenty of topics to explore with black actors as leads within the horror genre without bringing up racism.

Amazon Prime's "Them" vs. Jordan Peele's "Us."
Amazon Prime’s “Them” vs. Jordan Peele’s “Us.”
Amazon Prime; Everett

“I appreciate Jordan Peele for getting black folks into the horror genre but black horror does not have to center around white folks all the time like damn,” said one critic. “These directors, writers and producers love shopping around black trauma for reactions and sales. Just one light hearted movie would do but no we’re expected to sit through this,” added another.

However, some who have already seen the show say otherwise, such as journalist Jeandra LeBeauf who gave it a great review: “This is going to be THE series to watch. I was fortunate to screen during #sxsw and it is ???? Amazing writing, storytelling and can we get into this talented and beautiful starring cast?”

“Them” drops on Amazon Prime Video on April 9.

Lupita Nyong'o, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Winston Duke in "Us."
Lupita Nyong’o, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Winston Duke in “Us.”
©Universal/courtesy Everett





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