“Us” stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Anna Diop. Released on March 22, 2019, the film is about a family who encounters a group of doppelgängers.
The film is written and directed by Jordan Peele, who is known for directing “Get Out”. Usually, people tend to watch themselves in order not to get hurt by someone or something. For this situation, they literally need to watch themselves. That’s right, I’m talking about the fear of one’s own self, and by that, I mean one who looks exactly like the other. Two years ago, Jordan Peele went from being a comedian who makes people laugh to being a bonafide horror director who scares the crud out of people, and it’s all thanks to his directorial debut, “Get Out”. Personally, I was genuinely surprised at how Peele handled the horror genre as well as the film’s underlying themes. It wasn’t “best movie” material, in my opinion, but it was pretty disturbing. So how does Peele follow this up? With another terrifying horror movie, of course. This time, with doppelgängers. Oh boy, hope you guys aren’t afraid of clones. Since its premiere at the SXSW festival a couple of weeks ago, the film has been receiving huge amounts of praise for its story and cast. Usually, first-time directors make sophomore films that don’t connect to critics as well as their directorial debuts, but it looks like Jordan Peele has found a way to beat that curse. Question is, will it be able to connect well with modern audiences, including myself?
If you’re one of the many people who saw Peele’s last film, “Get Out”, you might recognize his style almost immediately during the first five minutes of “Us”. Ranging from the film’s eerie and dark settings to its unnerving and eye-opening cinematography, Jordan Peele knew that there’s more to a horror film than just give people heart attacks every few minutes or so. While it’s something that may or may not impress everybody, especially those who have a phobia of doppelgängers, it’s frightening enough to satisfy plenty of horror fanatics. As for myself, I would say that Jordan Peele deserves a spot on the “Great Horror Filmmakers” list in terms of his direction and his innovative screenplay. The story is best described as a survival horror film with a dash of “A Clockwork Orange” to personify the doppelgängers’ psychotic behavior. Like “Get Out”, “Us” was able to use the horror elements as a way to explore its underlying themes that most people might not get in their first viewing and deliver some good old-fashioned entertainment, and for the most part, it was pretty impressive. What’s also impressive is that the story actually has characters that are worth giving a cuss about, particularly Adelaide (played by Nyong’o). So, if you like horror films with likable characters, here you go. The cast did such a swell job with their performances, especially Nyong’o who pulls double duty as Adelaide and her doppelgänger. Her role as the doppelgänger was one of the few things that creep me out the most. It was haunting and downright unsettling. I mean, seriously, could you imagine sitting next to someone who acts like that? Winston Duke was also very entertaining as Adelaide’s husband. He had a good mixture of humor and drama to keep the film consistent with its intended tone. So just how scary is this film? Well, it didn’t exactly reach the top of the “Fright-O-Meter”, but it’s definitely creepy in its own right, and Jordan Peele successfully took advantage of it by providing a sense of realism and an ending that will shock almost everyone to the core. I would also like to mention that the musical score by Michael Abels was terrific. It really adds to the film’s intensity and fear without overwhelming its audience.
Overall, “Us” showcases Jordan Peele’s undeniable respect towards the horror genre. Thanks to its cast, Peele’s direction, and Michael Abels’ musical score, the film is entertaining, terrifying, and somehow thoughtful. I still find it hard to believe that Jordan Peele was able to make two well-received horror films in a span of two years. I guess it goes to show that he can do more than just comedy, which is something that I would like for him to keep on doing. If you enjoy horror films that are well-crafted and more importantly, creepy, this film is worth checking out.