Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex
Director: Jordan Peele
I think this movie is going to require another viewing to get a true appreciation of the film’s direction and touch of detail. In a few short years, Jordan Peele has shown us the immense amount of talent he has and that his mind is full of horrifying, genre-altering stories that must be seen. With Us, we see a unique take of an original horror story that may be one of the best ones in recent years. Led by a horrifying premise and a stunning lead performance by Nyong’o, Us shows us that all of Peele’s future works are must-watch movies and that Get Out wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder.
The film follows the Wilson family as they go on vacation to Santa Cruz. Adelaide (Nyong’o), the mother of the family, is cautious about going to Santa Cruz because a traumatic incident happened to her as a child in Santa Cruz. After a seemingly normal trip, copies of all of the family members visit them with the intention of killing them and taking their spot in the real world. Together, the family must go to any means necessary to survive the night and figure out what is going on. One of the main things that stands out is the level of detail in each and every scene. After I watched the movie and read more about the symbolism of certain clothing, naming, and color choices, I was amazed at how even the smallest of details reflect some sort of bigger message or theme. This is imminent from the opening scene as we get quite possibly one of the creepiest opening sequences I’ve seen in quite some time. With a red title card, unsettling rabbits in the background, and score that plays a traditional musical scale in the scariest order possible, Us lets you know that it’s not pulling any punches as it establishes a sense of terror without ever having to show us a monster or a dead body. These horror elements are then paired with a stunning performance by Nyong’o. Nyong’o has the difficult job not only of playing the protagonist, but she also has to play the role of the family’s main antagonist as well. Not only do these characters contrast each other on a moral level, but Adelaide’s copy can barely speak English, so the delivery of her lines changes drastically depending which role she’s playing. This takes an incredible amount of talent and very few actresses can pull it off, but Nyong’o being the elite performer that she is can handle this difficult task with ease. There aren’t a whole lot of horror films led by powerful female leads, but Nyong’o performs almost on the same level of someone like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween and will probably end up being one of the most memorable female horror leads of the decade. Combine all of these nicely done things with an ending that will stick with you for quite some time afterwards and you end up with a movie that will stand out in a very crowded field.
Overall, Us absolutely lives up to all of the hype around it and has made quite an impact for a film released in an early part of the year. There are multiple scenes that will have your jaw on the ground and the shocking imagery will make you feel borderline queasy throughout most of the movie. Maybe Us will end up surprising the world and getting some awards nominations next year, but even if it doesn’t, it will end up as one of the genre-defining movies of the decade with a high level of rewatchability.
Overall Score: 8/10