So the master of comedy, turned master of thrillers, Jordan Peele is back for another round of horror fun. His previous directorial debut in Get Out left audiences astounded by the perfect blend of horrifying mind games and comedic one-liners. This time, Peele has delivered us a brand new horror experience entitled Us.
I’m sure by now, most of you have seen a trailer or post about this movie since it has basically been impossible to escape in the last week. So I’ll just do a very basic tldr version of the film’s premise. Essentially, there is a family who goes to the beach, sees their doppelgangers, and the doppelgangers begin to try and murder them.
If that sounded at all interesting to you, then you should be interested in reading through the rest of this review. Don’t worry, as usual, I’m going to leave any major spoilers out of the review.
So right off the bat, you are shown some text on the screen explaining that there are mass amounts of underground tunnels all throughout the United States. This basically leads you to realize that tunnels will have something to do with this movie (albeit not until about 3/4 of the way through the film).
From there we are introduced to this young girl named Adelaide and her parents at a beachside carnival. They play some games before the little girl wanders off into a hall of mirrors attraction. She sees someone who looks exactly like her (but obviously is not just a reflection) and then the screen cuts back to modern times. Now that little girl is all grown up (and played by Lupita Nyong’o) and riding in the car with her husband Gabe (played by Winston Duke) and two children Zora and Jason (played by Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex).
They arrive at their summer house which is not far from that same dreaded beach where she originally had that horrifying encounter. At the beach, they meet up with the nice (although very stereotypically Wall Street) Tyler family. This new family consists of a father (played by Tim Heidecker), mother (played by Elisabeth Moss) and two twin teenage girls (because of course there are creepy twins in a horror movie).
After briefly losing track of their son at the beach, the main family (the Wilsons) decide to head back to their summer house. That is when Adelaide decides to first tell her husband about her traumatic experience as a child at that same beach. Gabe provides us with some very funny moments during these scenes (and comes off as a very Jordan Peele-like character).
It is at this point that (for a lack of better words) shit goes down. The doppelgangers appear and give a really brief and incredibly mystic/confusing explanation as to who they are. Unfortunately, it does not really get any less confusing as the movie progresses.
For those people who like to say life is about the journey not the destination, they will absolutely fucking love this movie. The introduction and first 2/3 of the film are incredibly entertaining and really well done for the most part. However, the ending left me feeling as though someone had completely pulled the rug out from under my feet.
Peele spends a lot of time getting us to connect with these characters and he does this phenomenally. Watching them fight and kill in order to save each other is really entertaining. Not to mention the fact that the doppelgangers look absolutely fucking horrifying (and yes, the twins from the Tyler family get even creepier). He also uses the music so phenomenally in this movie to elevate the level of horror beyond belief.
It feels as though the director was prepared to lay out this detailed and intriguing explanation as to the backstory and plan of these doppelgangers, but then realized that the movie was already almost two hours long and decided to cut half of the explanation. So it just leaves you feeling confused and with more questions than you had when you went into the theater.
Peele supposedly has all these answers that we are looking for, but just chooses not to share them with us in this film. I could live with this fact if there was a guarantee that we were getting a sequel to Us, but so far this hasn’t happened. While Peele has said that he is open to returning to this story, he has not yet confirmed anything.
Overall, I understand that Peele was going for a metaphoric and mysterious plot. However, you can’t sacrifice the surface quality of a movie to try and achieve “deeper meanings”. So from a strictly movie-goer perspective, this movie has a great setup but falls short at the end. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 golden scissors.