STARRING: LUPITA NYONG'O; WINSTON DUKE; ELIZABETH MOSS; SHAHADI WRIGHT JOSEPH; EVAN ALEX
DIRECTED BY: JORDAN PEELE
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 4 STARS (Out of 4)
I can't believe I gave Get Out 3 ½ stars. I can tell you, I won't be making that mistake again with Jordan Peele's newest film- Us. It's unfair for audiences to expect another Get Out, but this is not just about repeating the past. This is a movie that cements a director into a status of being the prominent voice for the horror genre, films that make a statement about who we are, and twists our stomachs into knots. Us is about a family fighting themselves, the way we isolate ourselves from each other, and a horrific slice of the supernatural. Us is a terrifying, layered film, reminding us that we are our own worst enemy.
A girl named Adelaide is at the Santa Cruz harbor with her parents. When her father loses focus on a game of wack-a-mole, she wanders to a house of mirrors, but in this house she sees herself, not just in the mirror, a living breathing second version of herself. Fast forward to present day, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) is all grown up, headed to her summer home with husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and son Jason (Evan Alex). Although, she is a bit hesitant, Adelaide eventually gives in to going to the beach to meet with snobby friends the Tyler's (Elizabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker) and try to find some peace. After they return home, they see four visitors standing in their driveway. Young Jason expresses, “its Us”.
Similar to the way Get Out had new revelations the more one thinks about it, Us is a movie that you will instantly want to see a second time as soon as the credits roll. This is not just a psychological horror film that analyzes the fact that humans can be sinners and saints, but it also hits on multiple themes of horror film tropes. The home invasion, the slasher film, and mysterious things around every corner. Peele has become an instant legend, working in the same lane that Hitchcock, Kubrick, or Spielberg have made films, but creating his own style. It's unfair to say that Jordan Peele is like so and so, because this is a man who is his own brand. Every movie he makes from this day forward will be “A Jordan Peele Film” or “From the director that brought you Get Out and Us”.
Not to be overshadowed by the praise that belongs to Peele is the cast of Us, anchored by a spectacular performance by Lupita Nyong'o. Her work here is fearless, playing two versions of herself and often sending shivers down my spine. The well needed comic relief arrives from Winston Duke, who channels Peele's voice and sense of humor. Newcomers Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex are completely game for all the frights and fun. On top of all of the great performances is stellar cinematography from Mike Gioulakis, and a score from Michael Abels worthy of the work in Psycho or John Carpenter's Halloween. It's eery, often biting, and creating large moments of tension.
As for the often expected themes about politics or the state of our current country, Us does not hit you over the head with it as much as Get Out did, but it is still there. In fact it is because the messaging is so sneaky, subtle, and poignant in Us that it's another reminder of how great a writer Peele is. He does not need to hold our hands along the way, instead he is calling us, leading us down a path where the scares will get us, the suspense will make our hands sweat, and then laughing about how he did it so well. Us is not just a great movie, it is a cultural experience, a terrifying look at our most evil impulses, and a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves, before we can even think about changing everyone else in the world. Us is a must-see. I cannot wait to see what Jordan Peele does next.
Written by: Leo Brady