A recent trend that has been quite surprising is actors from the comedy scene transitioning into the horror genre. From The Office’s John Krasinski who wrote, directed and co-starred in A Quiet Place to Danny McBride, who co-wrote the recent Halloween sequel. The biggest transition of note is Jordan Peele, who went from Key and Peele to writing and directing what is considered a modern masterpiece with 2017’s Get Out. After a huge hit, it’s always a tough act to follow with the next project. But now, we finally get to see what else Peel has up his sleeve with, Us.
Adelaide and Gabe Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o & Winston Duke) take their kids, Zora and Jason (Shahadi Wright Joseph & Evan Alex) on a family vacation to Santa Cruz, California. They’re spending time with their friends Josh and Kitty Tyler (Tim Heidecker & Elizabeth Moss) and their family, as well as staying in Adelaide’s childhood home. One night, four mysterious people break into their home and the Winston family are horrified to discover that the people look exactly like them, but with grotesque features.
While Us is a very different movie to Get Out as it takes a more traditional horror route, it is certainly a very strong follow-up. Similarly to how Get Out incorporated social commentary of political correctness in a satirical way, Us has an interwoven theme of the upper class versus the lower class. The film also explores the ideas of duality and shadows that take the film in very unexpected directions that are very ambitious, but felt a bit over-explained, especially towards the end.
The strongest aspect of the movie is the performances and the family dynamic. Each member of the Winston family brings an interesting personality and unique quirk to the table, giving a very grounded and often funny aspect to the story. What makes their performances more impressive are how they portray their doppelgänger counterparts and their interactions on screen. The biggest standout is, of course, Lupita Nyong’o as she displays a very intense range of emotions as both Adelaide and her double, Red, the leader of the family.
Overall, Us is yet another unique horror movie from Jordan Peele, who is showing a pretty strong promise for a future in the genre. While the story isn’t as strongly constructed as Get Out, the movie is held together with some great performances and some striking imagery.
If you’re feeling brave, I would definitely recommend seeing this movie with a group of friends.