“Us” Movie Review


Jordan Peele follows up his 2017 phenomenon “Get Out” with another shocking horror classic

When “Get Out” came out in March 2017, it captured the admiration of audiences and critics alike and slung shot writer/director Jordan Peele into the spotlight. When the 2018 Oscars came around, “Get Out” made waves when Peele took home the Oscar for best original screenplay and announced that he would have more on the way. Now in March of 2019 Peele released his latest movie “Us”, the terrifying story of a family vacationing in Santa Cruz only to be haunted by the mother’s traumatic childhood event and a set of doppelgangers wearing red jumpsuits and using large golden sheers as their murder weapon.

For the most part, modern horror movies have been rather underwhelming. They opt for computer generated monsters and jump scares to keep their audiences entertained. “Us” returns to a classical style of horror movie that is most comparable to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece “The Shining”. “Us” is more creepy than scary and most of the scares come from gore instead of jump scares. While the film has a pretty ridiculous plot, it manages to stay grounded thanks to its fantastic character development which is part writing and part the magnificent acting of the four family members playing both themselves and their evil doppelgangers. The screen clearly belongs to Lupita Nyong’o who gives a performance worthy of her Oscar winning role in “12 Years a Slave”.

By far the best part of this movie, as it was with “Get Out”, is the hidden clues scattered within the movie that reveal a greater meaning that Peele was eluding to. “Get Out” provided commentary about race, and “Us” cryptically asks its viewers to examine their place in social class. It victimizes people of the upper class and implies that those of the lower class are possibly more deserving of a better life. It is hidden meanings like this that, in my book, elevate horror movies to an elite level.

The film is best taken in context of its predecessor, “Get Out”, and while “Us” probably isn’t a sequel it is the only other film that Peele has made. “Us” doesn’t have as inventive of a story as “Get Out” did and the script is in general less fun, but “Us” does have a twist at the end that makes it better than the average screenplay and it has an ambiguous ending that can be taken in almost a dozen different directions. “Us” really separates itself in its production. Peele was awarded a larger budget to make “Us” and it is evident in the cinematography, score, and special effects. Peele also did a better job of directing, as anybody would on their second try.

“Us” made over $70 million on opening weekend and is well on its way to surpassing the total gross of “Get Out”. It is too early in the year to tell how it will fair at awards shows, but it certainly deserves consideration. Peele already announced that he has three other horror movies that each tackle other social injustices that he plans to release before 2030, so it looks like Peele isn’t going anywhere for a while.

“Us” is clearly better than most of the horror movies we are given today and returns to older styles of telling horror stories. It has the typical Peele way of writing that makes the story more engaging and more meaningful. “Us” separates itself with increased production value that make the film more artistically appealing, but it’s greatest triumph is Nyong’o’s performance which is nothing short of incredible. Peele avoids a sophomore slump and creates another shocking movie that blurs the line between good and evil and asks its audience to consider the deeper meaning in every shot. In doing so, Peele has created a horror classic which will not soon be forgotten and he establishes himself as the modern king of cinema horror.

Final Score for “Us”: 4.5 Stars