Jordan Peele returns for his second feature length film after the massive success of the cultural phenomenon that was “Get Out”. The horror, mystery, thriller was a social commentary on racism. However, this time with “Us” Jordan Peele gives us a thought provoking message that’s suggests that the true enemy may be ourselves.
Lupita Nyong’o stars as both Adelaide and Red, Red being her evil self who shows up at her family’s beach house alongside doppelgängers of her husband, daughter and son. These doppelgängers are known as “the tethered”. They look just like them, but act and sound differently as they attempt to murder their human selves. “They won’t stop until they kill us or we kill them”, says Adelaide in an attempt to gather her frightened families nerves’ back to reality.
Peele’s direction is impeccable and is even more established than in “Get Out”. His visually style and tone is becoming more clear with the unique camera movements and haunting music. From the very first frame, you can tell you’re watching something special.
The standout performance comes from Nyong’o who previously won on Academy Award for her performance in “12 Years a Slave”. With “Us” it seems she may be in the running for another one. Her talents shine through portraying two identical characters so differently. She plays a caring mother who will stop at nothing for her children’s’ safety, to an insane and stone-faced killer. As the runtime goes, you begin to forget that any of these actors are portraying two versions of themselves.
In addition to Nyong’o though, the rest of the cast does a stellar job. Winston Duke plays her husband Gabe and his tethered self, Abraham. Duke is quite funny in most of the movie, acting as the much needed comic relief. “If you wanna get crazy, we can get crazy.”, he says as he walks towards the end of the driveway as he attempts to threatened the tethered, until he realizes they’re not exactly who he thought they were.
“Us” is marketed as a horror film, but there’s much more to the terror and blood that you see in the film. Yes, the break in sequences is beyond creepy, and the very concept of having a doppelgänger try to kill you is the stuff of nightmares. However, “Us” is also a mystery, a thriller, a comedy, and in many ways a family drama as well. It has much to offer in its two hour runtime, making it one of the best horror films of the decade.
Rated R for violence/terror, and language.