Us is the latest nightmare from writer/director, Jordan Peele. After his breakout directorial debut, Get Out, which took home the Best Original Screenplay award at the Academy Awards, Jordan Peele’s next project had the attention of a lot of people. Get Out was a critical, commercial, and box office smash. Can Jordan Peele’s second outing live up to the hype?
Us follows a family, lead by Lupita Nyong’O and Winston Duke, heading to their vacation home for the summer. Once there, old memories begin to resurface and when the night comes, a group of doppelgängers turns this seemingly normal families life into chaos. Us delivers a fascinating story, genuine thrills and Peele’s trademark humor sprinkled throughout. While lacking in the strong social-political side of things so beautifully told in Get Out, Us boost a much larger and ambitious film, diving into different subgenres of horror such as tones of old school 80’s slashers and even some sci-fi. While I didn’t love Us, Us is still an enjoyable thrill ride of an experience that I believe was only heightened by seeing it with a good crowd of people.
I think easily, hands down the best part of this movie is the incredible talent on display from all 4 actors not only portraying the main family but the doppelgänger family as well. Lupita Nyong’O is the standout and gives what is quite honestly an Oscar-worthy performance. Both sides of these characters she portrays are vastly different and both boost bold performances that only a skilled performer, like Lupita, could pull off. She switches between loving and terrified to cold and evil between the two characters until they slowly blend together and start to blur the lines. There definitely is a nuance to her performance that I guarantee upon second viewing will change your viewpoint on the story. And that’s not to say the rest of the family doesn’t knock their roles out of the park. Kids in movies are a big risk, they’re usually hit or miss. I did not have a single worry with these two young performers. Great, energetic, and downright creepy.
The films set up into the story and introducing the doppelgänger family provided really great intrigue and suspense diving into this family’s nightmare. Where I feel the movie loses a little bit of its steam is once we start getting answers to the films mysterious questions. In every film, the filmmakers ask of the audience to suspend some sort of disbelief. Typically this question is posed in the introduction of the film to give you a taste of what you are getting yourself into. Once we get into Us and start seeing the bigger picture the story is trying to tell it goes in a direction that you’ll just have to go along with it. For me, I had a hard time buying into Us’s sci-fi and Twilight Zone-style story. It went a little too far out of reality that the beginning of the movie set up. At the end of the film (don’t worry, no spoilers), we are given a definite answer to something, that I personally would have preferred it to be left ambiguous and not answered. That’s just me though. I think upon a second viewing I could get into the story a little better now knowing what to expect.
Us is another big win for Jordan Peele. With bold and daring performances from its leads and a hilarious script blended seamlessly with suspenseful and scary scenes, Us delivers on its promise of an exciting new nightmare. Aside from the main story issue I have with the movie, Us is a really great time at the theater, especially with an excited crowd. If you are a fan of horror movies or Jordan Peele’s previous work, Get Out, check this one out.