The new Jordan Peele film, Us, is an entertaining masterpiece that uses the horror genre to comment on both us and them, with the disturbing conclusion that we is crazy.
I missed Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out (2017), but after watching this latest effort, which he both wrote and directed, that film has moved way up to the top of my “to watch” list.
The former comedian (I assume he remains very funny) is obviously a huge fan of Hitchcock, Kubrick and M. Night Shyamalan (in his heyday) and Us is swarming with gleeful nods to many classic thrillers.
In a nutshell, the story involves a family on vacation when they encounter and are confronted with horrific versions of themselves. Who are these other people? Where did they come from? What do they want? I’m not saying… but in all likelihood those answers will blow your mind.
For the first two-thirds of this movie I was satisfied in that it was a creepy and unsettling and mostly satisfying horror flick; but it almost lost me completely on the last act and I admittedly left the theater scratching my head in bewilderment. But that was where the fun really began and where Peele’s true genius was revealed.
After watching it, this movie stuck with me all night and in the days that have followed as I have tried to mentally unravel its mystery; and the more I think about it the more I feel it is a contemporary classic of the first degree and an astute and sublime commentary on American society in 2019.
Adding to Us’s cinematic prowess is its incredible cast, which delivers award-worthy performances all around; especially Lupita Nyong’o as the protective mother of the ill-fated Wilson family. Winston Duke (M’Baku from Black Panther) plays the good-humored father, while Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex play the young sister and brother. Each actor plays their own doppelganger as well.
The best sci-fi and horror films always have something to say beyond the fantasy we see on-screen, and if you give it a chance Us delivers on that promise in ways that will reveal themselves for long after your initial viewing.
Don’t let anyone tell you too much about this movie. Go see it, judge for yourself, but don’t be too quick to form an opinion; there is a lot here to talk about and I hope Peele is successful in starting that discussion. I can’t wait to see Us again. Grade: 8.5/10
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