Written/Produced/Directed By: Jordan Peele
So, I went and saw Us recently, and I have some thoughts on it that I would like to share with you all. I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, though there may be a couple of minor ones here and there.
Us begins with the main character Adelaide (Lupita Nyongo’o) as a child, at a boardwalk carnival with her parents. While there, she gets separated from them and ends up lost in a hall of mirrors. While there, she has a disturbing encounter that deeply traumatizes her.
Years later, Adelaide is grown and has a family of her own: husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and son Jason (Evan Alex). While there, Gabe suggests that they go to the same beach from the flashback at the beginning of the movie. Adelaide is understandably reluctant, but relents.
And, after their beach visit, everything goes straight to hell when they find doppelgängers in their driveway.
The film is definitely off-putting and, at times, quite scary, though I wouldn’t necessarily consider it the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. There are also quite a few moments of humor in the film, mostly courtesy of Gabe. Winston Duke is absolutely adorable in the role and I think I kind of love him, terrible dad jokes and all.
Actually, pretty much all of the performances in the are quite good, down to the smallest part. A special mention should, of course, go to Lupita Nyongo’o, who plays both Adelaide and her double Red to near-perfection.
Another thing I want to mention is Peele’s use of foreshadowing, which I thought was quite good. For an example, in a scene early on, the Wilson’s friend Kitty (Elisabeth Moss) mentions having had plastic surgery. Later, we see that her double has scars on her face. Another example is Jason getting trapped in a closet when it closes on him accidentally, and he later uses that to trap his own double. Zora mentions that she wants to quit the track team at her school, but it’s a skill that comes in handy when she’s being hunted by her double.
That said, the film is not perfect. For one thing, it kinda uses the whole “disability/disfigurement as horror” thing, which is something that the horror genre has a bit of trouble with. In particular, Nyongo’o did say that she based the voice she used as Red on a neurological condition called spasmodic dysphonia (though to her credit she did later apologize for this), and when we see Jason’s double’s face, we see that it’s burned and scarred.
The story also starts to fall apart a little bit at the end, with a twist that feels like it was tacked on for the sake of having a twist. I did think it was a little shocking at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was kind of unnecessary. If anything, it reminded me of the twist ending of the film High Tension, except the twist in Us didn’t completely ruin the movie for me.
Basically, I did not think it was quite as good as Peele’s debut outing, Get Out. While I did find this movie somewhat scarier, I still think that Get Out has a bit more of a cohesive narrative.
However, I do believe that Us does have quite a bit to unpack, and I think is something that may benefit from repeated viewing. I know that I will probably go and see it again, if I can.
All in all, it is a fairly solid film with a bit of a weak ending, and I recommend that you go see it if you’re a fan of horror.
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