Jordan Peele’s Get Out was a terrific film and was deservedly rewarded with four Oscar nominations. It won writer and director, Jordan Peele the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The key word being “Original”, because that is what Get Out was. Billed as a horror film it was more of a psychological thriller. Peele’s latest film is also being marketed as a horror film and it definitely fits the horror genre more aptly, but it still has a lot of psychological thriller elements to it. Regardless, US is every bit as original as Get Out was and the payoff is every bit as satisfying, as well.
To describe the plot of US is going to reveal some spoilers and I try not to do that. Suffice to say, the story is about a family that goes to their beach house for a vacation only to find that their doppelgangers are waiting for them on their first evening. Lupito Nyong’o and Winston Duke play wife, Adelaide and husband, Gabe, to their on-screen children, Zora (Shahadi Wright) and Jason (Evan Alex). This is a close knit family that you get the feeling you would want to hang out with. So when bad things start to happen, you care what happens to them.
As the film progresses, we find out it is not just the Wilson’s doppelgangers that have paid a visit, but their friends, the Tylers, as well. Elizabeth Moss plays the ditzy, demanding but ultimately well meaning, Kitty. Tim Heidecker is her hard drinking and buffoonish husband, Josh. They have two beautiful twin daughters, Becca and Lindsey (played.by real life twins, Cali Sheldon and Noelle Sheldon). All Hell is breaking loose and no one is safe and there does not seem to be a way out, either.
Us is not just a well constructed film by writer and director Peele but the cinematography by Mike Gioulakis is first rate. Editor Nicholas Monsour has Us cut together perfectly. There is never a dull moment and never a moment which did not feel fake or forced. The acting, as well, is superb by everyone involved. Jordan Peele is able to bring out the best in each of the actors and it shows in their performances. He is an actor’s director and that shows since he started out in acting, himself. Some of the great directors, Ron Howard, Clint Eastwood and the late Penny Marshall, started out in acting so they have a feel for being both in front of the camera and behind the camera. Peele is no different.
Us is a different kind of film with a surprise ending that I did not see coming. It is a delectably fun, gratifyingly original film with scares and humor nicely sprinkled throughout making Us a near perfect follow up to Get Out. Peele has distinguished himself as a top tier writer and director with Us. Will this get any Oscar nominations? Who knows? The Academy has a very short memory span. I think the film is that good and should be re-released later this fall to refresh the Academy’s memory.
Us – ****1/2 out of 5
Us – Rated R for graphic violence, language and scenes of terror
Us – Run time is 116 minutes
Us is now available on DVD, On Demand and subscription services. Check your local listings for availability and pricing.