“US” Reviewed by Cleo Coulter
Film Director/Writer Jordan Peele’s (Get Out, 2017) took a stab at creating a family summer vacation movie for his second feature film release. “Us” amply titled, takes the viewer through a corridor of dual realities. “Us” is a modern version of an old concept of an underworld parallel to our own. Modern moviegoers, who are obsessed with what can be described as a hidden clue will be satisfied to watch this movie over and over to digest this soon-to-be cult-classic fully.
The film’s opening scene takes film fans into an 80’s time warp, planting seeds that will, later on, become the tares amongst the wheat in this human transplant thriller. Jordan Peele’s subversive style of writing comingles comedy with horror that takes jump scares to a whole new level. This is not a conventional type of horror film per se, yet it weaves between Hitchcock’s, King’s and Peele’s different styles. Peele’s writing and directing may remind viewers of Hitchcock’s usage of reality against itself and King’s defiance to the natural order of things. The Peele style of metaphoric twists taught fans a lesson in his first film about taking frame changes for granted, so viewers beware.
“Us” follows a family on vacation to Santa Cruz when the unthinkable happens. Lupita Nyong’o (10 Years A Slave), leads this movie as the matriarch of her family. Her husband, played by Winston Duke (Black Panther), and their two children(Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) are fighting to stay alive in what can be perceived as, “A Night of the Living Dead” scenario, but it is worse, much worse. It’s the Isaac Newton’s 3rd law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” as each member faces off against their mirrored selves in what can only be described as carnage on an apocalyptic level. Lupita turns in a hair raising performance playing dual roles as her reflected self with terrifying precision. While Winston is allowed to play the vulnerable husband that has to step up as a hero in the family’s fight for survival. The children bring the right amount of terror and shock to their respective roles performing acts that can create nightmares for a lifetime.
This film swells with anticipation and anxiety. There are a few jokes here and there to lighten the suspenseful tension and remind the audience to breathe. Once the audience understands that there might not be any help coming for these poor souls, stress kicks in. Maybe the threat of family separation subconsciously affects us all and the maternal, and paternal instincts make us root for the family because you become invested in the outcome. You shouldn’t watch this film for that. You should watch this film because it shows that even in the scariest situations, you are stronger as a functioning family unit. This film is going to scare you and make you think.
“US ” also stars Elizabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Madison Curry, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon.