Even though he now has only two movies under his name, hearing that a new movie from writer/director Jordan Peele is exciting enough. 2017’s Get Out, which Peele deservedly won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, was a change of pace for the horror genre with its social commentary and its smart and original concept that can’t be forgotten. Does the director’s latest follow-up, Us, destined for a promise for more good horror? Let’s find out, shall we?
Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) and her husband, Gabe (Winston Duke, Black Panther), takes their two kids- Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex)- on a family vacation to Santa Cruz at their summer home while visiting their friends (Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker). Although nothing feels right when strangers are in their driveway holding hands, only to shockingly find out that the strangers are these kinds of evil doppelgängers of themselves.
Now, Us was my fifth most anticipated movie of 2019 because of who’s involved, and it’s not shocking to find out it’s gonna be another horror movie from the Oscar-winner. Tried to stay away from the trailer since I wanted to go into the film cold, but I couldn’t resist. All I wanted is for Us to be entertaining and to be the next flick everybody will be talking about. Does it? Us is the kind of ambitious film that makes you think.
Once again, Peele does an outstanding job at crafting perfect direction adding in the tension we, the audience, feel for the Wilsons without feeling bored at any given moment. This also comes with a fascinating screenplay that felt almost unpredictable and original enough to make it work thoroughly. Also, applauds for having an African-American family to be focused on and trying to survive, basically, themselves. And what I love is that he wasn’t trying to push Us as another Get Out in his mind. This stands on its own perfectly. Just on a technical level, the score by Michael Abels is flawless and the cinematography by Mike Gioulakis just took me by surprise.
The cast does a tremendous job at what they were given, but Nyong’o was the one that kept my attention. delivers one of the best performance I’m gonna see all year. It’s her character that we start out with after she experienced something that causes here to be terrified for herself and as a mother. And seeing that she and the rest of the cast are playing dual roles, it’s bonkers. Can we give her another Oscar, please? And Duke hasn’t been a ton of movies, but I really got into his performance as this dad who can be embarrassing at first, but fearful once the lookalikes arrive.
It has the elements that horror fans will be able to appreciate with the scares, suspense imagery, and its bloody moments that there’s to serve a purpose to what’s going on. Peele actually made a way to make scissors even more terrifying. And in terms of balancing horror and comedy, the humor thrown in here doesn’t ruin the overall tone that Peele was going for. I was generally laughing a lot of times during the film where the jokes are there to ease the tension.
The whole time I was in my seat, so many ideas were in my head about what this all means. Us really makes you interpret the film in a lot of ways. Is it about how we become our own worst enemy? Is the theme of duality play a huge role? Maybe Peele just wanted to make a straightforward horror movie, but I don’t think that’s the case. This is one of those movies that requires multiple viewings as soon as it’s over trying to catch the little things you didn’t notice the first time around.
By the end of Us, I was blown away by how much I loved it. Peele’s sophomore effort doesn’t hit a slump as the writer/director has another win with a horror flick that’s intense, hilarious, and creeps inside your head. Add in the great performances from Nyong’o and Duke, and it’s unforgettable. I would say don’t go into this comparing to Get Out after it’s over because they aren’t the same and you should have different expectations when walking into Us. Two movies in his filmography, I can easily say Peele is a pure genius.