Us is absurdly unique, especially entertaining, and by god Jordan Peele is already acting like a master of his craft; the film doesn’t quite hold up to the genius of Get Out but is still great on its own merits.
Imagine you had an identical twin that you didn’t know you had, and one day that twin found you and wanted to torture and kill you. That is Us in the most general sense and Peele makes this hypothetical scenario work so well with the horror genre. Tension is built so skillfully within the first few moments and the unusual imagery is comprised of multiple layers of meaning, much like in Get Out. Throughout the film, Peele weaves humor into his script naturally without ever forcing it. The first act of Us and roughly the second one too capture your attention and hold your eyes hostage. It’s in the final act where the film began to lose me. When Peele begins to explain things such as where did the evil doppelgängers come from, who are they, and what do they want, he starts to lead himself into loose ends. The audience then has to assume everything being presented to them is possible and makes sense. I believe the best way to view this film is to forget logic and accept what is explained and what happens for truth, however, I must admit, the level of tension and anxiety built from the first couple acts are ultimately lost in the finale.
Now to take a moment to recognize Lupita Nyong’o’s fantastic performance in the film. Remember back in 2017, when Michael Fassbender had to play two roles in Alien: Covenant? Probably not, but he did. Well, Nyong’o is put in a similar situation with Us, playing both the protagonist and antagonist, and takes Fassbender’s performance to a whole other level. As Adelaide, she excellently becomes a character with a traumatic past and shows the reserve one might feel when forced to confront that past. But she also does a great job at playing a mother who loves her children and will stop at nothing to protect them. As Red, the doppelgänger, she is menacing and twists her voice as if she had been stuck in isolation for several years. Nyong’o is able to play off the two characters fluently and is fierce while doing so. Winston Duke also does a good job, stepping into an expanded role of what Lil Rel Howery had in Get Out as the comic relief.
The score crawls under your skin and Peele’s ability to build tension is almost Hitchcockian. Us is scarier than Get Out and is much more belonging of the horror genre. The film makes societal observations and wants to make people ask questions, but it does not echo as loudly as Peele’s introductory film. Us is a must-see for those brave enough to take it on, and if not, I completely understand; I still haven’t watched Hereditary or It. 8.5/10