As a mysterious family stands at the foot of the driveway of the Wilson’s summer home, Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke), the father of the family, stands near the front door yelling for them to leave to no avail. He then goes inside and grabs a metal baseball bat and starts pounding the bat in the palm of his hand yelling, “If you wanna get crazy, we can get crazy!” and boy, did it get crazy. For two hours, writer/director Jordan Peele got crazy with us, giving us a relentlessly intense, incredibly bizarre horror film that solidifies Peele’s name in the horror genre.
Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family go up to their summer home for a relaxing vacation. While there, the Wilson’s are terrorized by a family of doppelgängers who have a scheme planned that nobody can predict that brings up a dark memory from Adelaide’s past.
Coming off the massive success of his debut film Get Out, expectations were high for Peele to repeat. Going into Us and expecting Get Out is just not fair. Get Out is one of the best movies of the decade and one of the best debut films ever. Peele gave us something we had never seen before and that is impossible to replicate twice. But also, the films are incredibly different in terms of what they are about and in tone, but if there is one thing that the two have in common, it’s Peele’s skill as a director.
With Us, Jordan Peele has established himself as one of the premiere horror movie directors in the game today. No, he is not the next Hitchcock or Carpenter or even James Wan, he is the first Jordan Peele and he makes horror movies about the human condition and modern America. Us offers up questions about humanity, classism, revolt, the idea of how we are raised and how it effects our futures. But Us really dives into the inherent evil of humans and our own worst enemy: ourselves. Peele asks us to look in the mirror and see the worst in us. To see what the soulless side of us looks like and how we can handle it ourselves at our worst.
Being the second film in a director’s filmography, you want to see some sort of growth from the first film. You don’t want them to stay stagnant or repeat their old tricks. Peele’s growth comes from his visuals and story. The visual style is stunning throughout. From the Santa Cruz beach front and carnival to the rich mansions and underground tunnels, this is a gorgeous piece of filmmaking and easily one of the best looking movies I have seen so far this year. Peele also shows that he is great at mystery, tension, and comedy. He builds tension right from the opening scene and eases us briefly with perfectly timed comedic moments, only to tighten it all back up and blow our minds in the film’s finale.
The performances from the cast are all great, each one pulling double-duty playing themselves and their evil doppelgängers. Lupita Nyong’o does the most work here, as her doppelgänger is the most problematic and the grand-schemer of it all. She’s remarkable in every scene. Winston Duke proves he’s the real deal as a dramatic actor and also has some of the best one-liners in the film. And Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex are most impressive as the children. Playing one part is tough enough, but these kids each playing two roles is nothing short of spectacular.
Us is bound to be one of the best horror movies of 2019. Jordan Peele has given us a wild, tense, funny, gorgeous movie that will have you guessing until the very end and well beyond the credits. Jordan Peele is a horror maestro and a director who has an incredibly exciting and intriguing future.
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