“They say when you meet somebody that looks just like you, you die.”
Occasionally in cinema we witness a genre defining film that changes everyone’s perception about that genre from then on. This happened with Hitchcock with Psycho, Carpenter with Halloween, Kubrick with the Shining and even David Cronenberg with The Fly. Each of these directors put their mark on the genre in a way that would forever alter how people viewed horror and now, so does Jordan Peele.
While visiting an idyllic beach, a family’s vacation turns into a nightmare when doppelgangers arrive who begin to terrorize the family.
Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss. Tim Heidecker and more, this is the latest tale of terror from Jordan Peele.
From the start of the film you are introduced to a world where those things in the shadows are real. Peele does not make you wait for the first moment that will creep you out but then, once he has you, he makes the time to establish who the players are and why you should care about them. The family in Us, played by Nyong’o, Duke, Shahadi Write Joseph and Evan Alex, could be any family that you know. They are very much the stereotypical modern family with all of the joy and baggage every family has these days. The children, a son and daughter, pick at each other, the dad tells bad jokes and the mother is the glue that holds them all together. It is only when they go back to a certain location that means something to the mother, Adelaide, that things begin to unravel and that is where this movie really gains momentum.
Once the action starts, it is a non-stop physical and emotional ride that forces you to watch and listen to it’s every nuance. If you turn away for a moment you are sure to miss something but it is so riveting that there is never a moment that you want to turn from the screen. Even with the certain amount of discomfort presented, I can not think of a moment where I felt bored or distracted by something else. That tension and riveting nature of the story was partially Peele’s incredible scripts and directing, but in large part by the acting abilities of the cast he surrounded himself with.
After the terrific film, Black Panther, I found both Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke to be excellent actors but it wasn’t until this film that I realized that we had barely scrapped the surface with their abilities. Each family member plays two roles in this film, one as the family members and another as their dark counterparts which we will refer to as their shadows so to not spoil anything. While the family is completely believable as a modern day domestic unit, their counterparts are some of the creepiest and most disturbing versions of themselves that could ever exist. Although played by the same actors, almost immediately, you feel as if the shadows are each entirely different characters who bare a resemblance to their sane counterparts but only ever so slightly. Not once did anyone in the film disappoint with their dual duties as light and dark versions of themselves creating a much deeper connection with both sides where many horror films only manage to make you believe in the ‘good guys’. Everyone in this film deserves awards for their tremendous performances and I look forward to what they all do next, especially Lupita Nyong’o.
The story itself is one of self discovery, finding out who you are to yourself, your family and those around you. It is a dark ride that dives deep into the recesses of human nature forcing you to to question the reality of who is bad and who is good or if either really exist. Just when you believe you know what to feel and who to trust, Peele has a way of pulling that certainty away with nothing but a few words leaving you constantly off balance and feeling around for solid ground.
The Bottom Line
I went to the theater with only a single expectation, I knew, from my previous experience with Get Out, that Jordan Peele would provide me with an incredibly deep and fascinating horror film, I was not dissapointed.
‘Us’ is a thought provoking psychological film that serves a genre defining moment. Like Hitchcock,Cronenberg, Carpenter, and other horror masters before him, Jordan Peele has created something unique that film bluffs will be discussing for years to come. Frightening, unnerving and utterly mesmerizing, ‘Us’ is the new modern horror.
Late To The Game 3/24/2019
Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the review. If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday. We also have a fun Retro TV Review series in which we are currently reviewing the entire Star Trek The Next Generation Series, episode by episode.
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