Writer/director Jordan Peele cements himself as an incredibly unique and thrilling voice in the horror film genre with his latest feature Us.
A family travels to a remote beach house in Santa Cruz, California in hopes to relax and get away from their troubles and reunite with their relatives. However, things quickly turn awry as they discover that they each have doppelgängers awaiting them with unclear motives.
For many years, Peele was known as one of the best in the comedy genre, mainly recognized for his work on the hit sketch comedy series Key & Peele, which he starred in alongside Keegan-Michael Key. When it was announced that Peele would be directing Get Out, a visceral horror thriller, tons of people were unsure of how a comedian would be able to pull off real scares. When the picture was released however, people’s worries were soon put to rest, as most individuals found it to be a gripping and relevant horror experience that would not be forgotten, and even garnered several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
Luckily, Get Out was not a one time horror success for Peele, as his latest film Us is yet another thematically rich and highly disturbing cinematic journey that will surely be talked about for years to come.
The true star here is Lupita Nyong’o who portrays Adelaide Wilson, a woman who has an extremely interesting past that we learn about through quick snippets scattered throughout the film. The more things we discover about her, the more compelling she becomes. Additionally, this is the best performance Nyong’o has ever given and it would be a complete shame if she did not get recognized come awards season. Her portrayal of Wilson is powerful and emotional and makes it look easy.
Similar to Peele’s aforementioned film, Us has plenty of humor throughout. It is not the type of humor that makes you forget what the real conflict of the story is, gratefully. It never once feels forced, and whenever there are bits of comedy throughout, they are genuinely funny. A large portion of the comedic elements come from Winston Duke, who stars as Gabriel Wilson. Similar to Nyong’o, this is also Duke’s best performance to date.
The characters present are riveting and are masterfully brought to the big screen which ultimately makes the viewer care for their plight. Whenever things start to turn horrific for our protagonists, we want them to succeed in their goals. The story of the film is absolutely fascinating and is all the more intriguing due to our leads.
It Follows cinematographer Mike Gioulakis serves as the director of photography for Us and shows that he is one of the best cinematographers working in the horror genre today. There are plenty of wide shots that are gorgeous to look at, while also feeling bleak and eerie.
Michael Abels, who previously composed the score for Peele’s Get Out, returns to compose the score for Us. It is mind-boggling that this is only the second soundtrack he has composed for a feature, as his music is utterly bone-chilling. There are a few songs in particular that, accompanied with certain scenes towards the third act, makes for one of the best horror scores in many years.
Us boasts incredible performances from the entire cast, contains a thematically rich story, and further cements Jordan Peele as a fresh and exciting voice in the horror genre.
Overall Grade: A+
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence/terror, and language
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 116 minutes