Jordan Peele. He is a hell of a guy. He’s an incredible comedic talent, being one half of a legendary comedic duo and in the last couple years he has spread his wings and flourished as a director. He set the world aflame with his directorial debut Get Out. Now in 2019, he returns with Us his full-on horror film after the “existentially terrifying” Get Out.
Us stars Lupita Nyong’o, and Winston Duke, alongside newcomers Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph from a script written by Peele himself.
The plot of Us follows Adelaide (Nyong’o) and her family on a family vacation. They’re heading out to Santa Cruz and enjoying being away from it all except Adelaide who had a traumatic experience there when she was young. She tries to make the best of the situation with her family but nothing works. This all comes to a head when a strange group of individuals arrive at the house. Gabriel (Duke) thinks it could be the neighbours but Adelaide senses darker motivations.
These “people” want something from Adelaide and her family and what they want isn’t a cup of sugar.
I haven’t watched a film like Us in a long time. It is expertly crafted with such tender loving care. Within almost every frame there is something to dissect. There are no lines of dialogue wasted. Everything matters in Us and it boils down to the impressive script and acting.
Director Jordan Peele maneuvers his cast through the obstacle course that is this plot deftly. Now what is a hurdle that the film cannot get over is the narrative itself. It does not live up to the lofty promises it makes at the beginning of the film. The mystery at the core of this story is surprisingly unimpressive and the resolution is anti-climatic and dare I say pedestrian.
In my opinion though this is saved by award-worthy performances from the cast. Every member of the cast is pulling double duty with their dual roles and I have to take my hat off to them. A particular highlight is Lupita Nyong’o, she is devastating as Adelaide. Her pain is palpable and she conveys so much through her eyes.
Peele also understands that for a horror to truly land with its audience the audience needs to care for the victims. In Us, you care for Adelaide and her family. This is done through some excellent character building in the first third of the film. Adding an intriguing character to the film is a score that gets stuck in your head.
The score and soundtrack combine to form a unique and tense emotional journey. Fans of “I Got 5 On It” are in for a real treat with the darker edgier take on the 90s’ hit which adds a genuinely unnerving element to the film.
Jordan Peele has utilised expertly the tools on his table. Little is wasted. With an intimate and compelling cast, thrilling score, and nerve-wracking cinematography Us is a film that will stay with you as you lie in your bed trying desperately to rest easy.