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Us (2019) - Movie Review

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Us (2019)

Part home invasion thriller, part horror, and part social commentary, the only thing more impressive than the number of genre elements at play in Jordan Peele’s newest film, Us, is the total body count. Well, that and the incredible attention to detail the filmmaker pays to every single one of those elements. You might not like what the film has to say, but you’d be hard pressed to find many slips, errors, or faults in the way he says them.

After just one film into his promising career, it became quite clear what kind of filmmaker the Comedy Central star was going to become. His breakout hit Get Out highlighted Peele’s special talent for creating provocative, socially conscious horror films. And even before that film exited the box office charts, the horror masses were clamoring for a follow-up.

"Us is a near-brilliant sophomore effort from a director who is already at the top of his game just two films in"


Well, here it is in Us. Count yours truly as one who looked forward to Peele’s sophomore effort with equal amounts gleeful delight and cautious trepidation. How could a filmmaker possibly follow the dense, intoxicating encounter we all had with Get Out? Well, we now have the answer. Though it perhaps doesn’t carry the same social punch as Get Out, Us more than makes up for it with a meme factory’s worth of iconic cinematic moments, and enough thrills and chills to challenge any of Hitchcock’s best. You’ll find yourself sitting for days trying to mentally unravel this intricate puzzle.

The film is set in present day as the Wilson family is enjoying a nice vacation at their summer home near Santa Clara, California. They are a normal American family, close and loving, but we soon get the sense of a few lingering unresolved issues. There’s lovely Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave) who is returning to her beachside childhood home with husband Gabe (Winston Duke, Black Panther), and children Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and Jason (Evan Alex).

Via a series of disturbing flashbacks, we learn something about Adelaide’s haunting past that is causing her anxiety levels to elevate as she is unable to shake the uneasy feeling that something terrible is going to happen to the family. Those fears come true after the family returns from the beach to find the silhouettes of four figures standing in their driveway, refusing to leave. Things get even more harrowing when it is discovered that their pesky visitors are not only really bad people with evil intentions, but that they are also doppelgängers of themselves. Fending ourselves from ourselves. How’s that for a truly horrific premise!? After all, we are our own worst enemy, right?

The Tethered, as they call themselves – dressed in red jumpsuits and armed with giant metal scissors – soon begin their reign of terror upon the Wilson household. And terror is an accurate description. Make no mistake. Us is a hard-core, R-rated, straight-up horror film, and at times tips over into slasher as scissors, fire pokers, golf putters, and large blunt objects are used frequently on any vulnerable soft tissue and/or wayward body part.

Even though he does drop a few humorous plays on the irony of black vs. white behavior in horror movies, for the most part, Peele defies audience expectations with Us by not plowing head-on into the state of race and race relations as he did in Get Out. This time he’s more interested in putting the precarious nature of the American Dream in his sights. He intertwines the notion of class structure and the dichotomy of “the haves” vs. “the have-nots” with our innate fear of evil twins and spiritual doubles to create a delightfully exhilarating, and at times terrifying, modern day twist on the age-old B movie.Us (2019)

A stellar cast, headed by the brilliant double performance of Nyong’o (each actor played the doppelgänger as well as themselves) and featuring Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale), Tim Heidecker (Portlandia) and the breakout performances from Wright Joseph and Alex, make the film work so wondrously well.

And then there’s the excellent score and perfectly curated soundtrack that heightens the film’s creep factor ten-fold. As they did with Flanagan and Allen’s rendition of Noel Gay and Ralph Butler’s Run Rabbit Run in Get Out, Peele and composer Michael Abels give us an orchestral title song that feels totally wrong and out of place as it plays over scenes of brutal violence, yet is, at the same time, perfect as the anthem of America’s immoral underbelly. And let’s not forget the hilarious use of N.W.A.’s F@#k Tha Police that was summoned by an errant call from the film’s version of Siri or Alexa. Funny stuff!

Humorous, violent, enthralling, and emotionally unsettling at times, Us is a near-brilliant sophomore effort from a director who is already at the top of his game just two films in. Can’t wait to see what he has in store for us with is reboot of The Twilight Zone TV series.

5/5

Us (2019)

MPAA Rating: R for violence/terror, and language.
Runtime:
116 mins
Director
: Jordan Peele
Writer:
Jordan Peele
Cast:
Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
We Are Our Own Worst Enemy.
Memorable Movie Quote: "If you wanna get crazy, we can get crazy!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: https://www.usmovie.com/
Release Date:
March 22, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: A family's serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.

Us (2019)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

No details available.

Us (2019)

 
 
 
 

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