“Us” Review: A Terrifying Awesome Psychological Thriller
After creating a new standard for the horror genre with his last film Get Out, Jordan Peele is releasing his second film in the space, Us. Fans have made their high expectations clear for months as they geeked out over the film’s trailers. So does it deliver? So much yes.
Us tells the story of Adelaide Wilson (played by Lupita Nyong’o). After experiencing a rather traumatizing event as a child, Adelaide finds herself back at the very location that is the source of her ongoing fears. She’s an adult now, and on a summer vacation with her husband, Gabe (played by Winston Duke) and their two children (played by Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex). A series of unexplainable and haunting coincidences unfold. And Adelaide finds that her fears are more than warranted – they’re real and they’ve shown up (all holding hands ever so creepily) in the driveway of their vacation home.
What transpires with these doppelgängers will haunt your nightmares for days to come after seeing this film. But horror element aside, audiences can’t help but look deeper at every scene of Us. It’s a Jordan Peele film after all, and he made it clear at the film’s SXSW premiere that the film “is about a lot of things.”
Jordan Peele on Us Message
“On the broader stroke of things, this movie is about this country. And when I decided to write this movie, I was stricken by the fact we are in a time where we fear the other. Whether it is the mysterious invader that we think is going to come and kill us, take our jobs, or the faction that we don’t live near that voted a different way than us.” Peele explained. “We’re all about pointing the finger and I wanted to suggest that maybe the monster we really need to look at has our face. Maybe the evil is us.”
Peele didn’t reference specific topics or debates in his comments at SXSW. However, he made it clear that the film is meant to challenge both the left and right side.
The underlying message isn’t as clear as it was in Get Out, but it definitely still resonates with film-goers. After the credits roll, you’re sitting there with so many unanswered questions. A directors commentary is strongly desired and likely numerous viewings of the film. Movies like this one, that require a deeper examination, are my favorite kind of films. They keep delivering to fans, even after your fourth and fifth viewings. They challenge the audiences to look at things differently and to have conversations that might be difficult to have.
Lupita Nyong’o Is Incredible
But back to the movie. The cast is fantastic and perfect for each of their respective roles, but let’s be clear who the real star is here – Lupita Nyong’o deserves an Oscar nomination for her work in this film, and I would put money on it that we’ll see her get just that when the next award season rolls around. Playing two incredibly complex characters, both with such darkness and emotion, Nyong’o pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. You become so invested in every moment she’s on the screen that you find yourself holding your breath with all the muscles in your body clinched. She nothing short of incredible in this role.
Us is incredibly intricate and challenging to review without giving away key plot points. However, I’m always adamant about giving spoiler-free reviews. But by all means in the comment section below, let’s get spoilerish. Because I have so many questions! But I know that this is a film that requires multiple viewings to capture all the little clues that I missed the first time around. Let me know your thoughts on it below!
The best theories I’ve heard so far about the meaning behind this film is that it’s a statement on class – that we’re all the same no matter where we’re born. Lupita’s doppleganger was born a tethered but raised middle class. Basically an argument about nature versus nurture.
Another great note – Us = United States – and that it’s a film about poverty with the upper class literally being above the lower class – which is tethered by all the decisions the upper class makes.
Another thing I want to further discuss is the son – who clearly seems to know a bit more about what is going on by the end of the film. Being able to control his doppleganger – and then also the look that he gives his mom at the end. Does anyone else have any theories about this?