Verdict: An intensely suspenseful plot with intelligent use of metaphors.
Jordan Peele’s first attempt at horror won him an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Two years after Get Out comes yet another story by the writer-director who is redefining the genre with his unique stories full of suspense and metaphorical twists. Titled Us, the movie is an abbreviation to the US, on one hand, while hitting out at societal segregation on the other. Trust Peele to make a sociopolitical statement with a horror movie and Us is yet another attempt of showing us a side to society that even regular dramas fail to do as impressively. The trailer of the film released around Christmas last year and has been the talk of online film circuits ever since. The movie will further amp up the hype because no Jordan Peele movie is just watched and forgotten. It is dissected, analyzed, and there are multiple conclusions that all seem to be just right.
What’s Us About:
Us travels across two eras. In a flashback to 1986, we see a young girl named Adelaide at a beach-side fair with her parents, who gets separated and wanders off into a shack with a sign that reads “Vision Quest: Find Yourself.” There, in a hallway of mirrors, she sees herself – not her reflection but a physical double. Not much is revealed about what happens next but the girl faces a great amount of trauma after this encounter, rendering her speechless for a while.
In the present day, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) is married to Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and they have two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). A fairly wealthy upper-class African-American family, the Wilsons are on a holiday at their beach house, where in the dead of the night, they are greeted by some unpleasant guests. A family of four who look like and resemble the Wilsons – only slightly grotesque – are suddenly in their house and the Wilsons must do what it takes to “get out” and save themselves from “them”.
Jordan Peele has once again embarked on a mission to disrupt the horror genre as we know it and has done so impressively. Us reminds us of Get Out in many ways – it too has its own version of the Sunken Place – but as a whole is a movie that stands on its own. Lupita Nyong’o delivers a remarkable performance, not just as Adelaide, but as her double, named Red. It is that character who is likely to continue haunting your nightmares as you destroy every mirror in your house. Even Elizabeth Moss’ brief role is noteworthy, especially as her grotesque double.
As mentioned earlier, Us is a very crucial film in the horror genre. It not only goes on to prove that filmmakers can continue experimenting with this genre through new stories that haven’t been explored before, but also make strong statements using suspense, gore, and terror. It is, in a nutshell, a satirical reflection of society today. The film uses many metaphors in a classic Peele style to engage the viewers and elicit a response. It is intelligent on many counts – no dialogue has been used frivolously, the songs in the background have a compelling basis, and even the film’s ominous opening statement about underground tunnels has relevance later in the story. Michael Abels’ blend of chants and rhythms also provide an infectious energy to the otherwise intensely suspenseful and mildly gore moments.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Us can be very bizarre film to most. After watching the movie, you might not even be too sure about how you feel about it. The thing about Jordan Peele’s films is that you are never done with them only by watching them. Then comes the part of your research, where you try and understand the reasons behind certain incidences, the motives of each character, the meanings behind each frame and dialogue, and the overall symbolism coursing throughout the film. Go get ready to Google your way to finding it all!
Why You Should Watch:
Not just fans of horror but no cinephile should miss Us. It is likely to open up room for a lot of discussion and we ourselves are grasping for answers to the million questions the movie has left us with. Us is not your regular end-of-the-day entertainer but a movie that makes you think, feel, shudder, and stay awake for a long time.