You had me at … incredibly professional bunny-actors and a twist that will make you paranoid.
How could you miss out on one of the best thrillers since… well since Get Out? Once more, Jordan Peele masterfully turns something simple into the creepiest shit you’ve ever seen and delivers another shocker that gets a good, psychotic grip on your lungs and won’t let go.
The story begins in 1986 in Santa Cruz, when a young Adelaide Wilson (Lupit Nyong’o) wanders off from her parents and finds herself in a house of mirrors where one of her reflections is not like the others. Many years later, Adelaide returns to her family’s house at the beach with her husband and two children. Needless to say, the appearance of perturbing doppelgängers doesn’t exactly improve this holiday.
If you remember the wise words of Shrek in his first movie revealing he is basically an onion à la Ogre, this flick has got at least the same amount of layers! You’ll experience horror, almost physically painful tension, woke humor, parody-esque destruction of horror movie tropes and Lupita Nyong’o as the most terrifying ballerina in movie history. It’s astonishing how incredibly satisfying a perfect salt-fat-acid-heat-menu of all things visceral can be.
Winston Duke (Gabe Wilson) is a serious contender for all-time heart-throb due to his smooth comedic timing and sweet nature. He is the perfect juxtaposition to Lupita who can seriously scare the hell out of you with just the way she walks. I will also make a point for how well sound is incorporated in this movie. Switching between exaggerated realism (e.g. heavy raindrops pounding in sync with your racing heart), golden oldies and eerie kids’ choirs.
Why are gospel-ish chants so unnerving? It might have to do with the general gruesome content of the bible and the ever-existing notion of someone watching and judging your every move. The film clearly draws from the darker sides of Christianity through referencing Jeremiah, for example, whose book – among other things – addresses the infidelity and rebelliousness of humankind that ought to have been punished (Yes I had to google that and never thought I’d have to). Similarly, humans receive retribution in Us when their worst parts/their shadows (= doppelgängers) rise from the sewers. Or are they actually the better version?
Get your full-face snorkel masks ready because Us will take you on a deep (like, Mariana-Trench-deep) dive into what makes you human and the sub-conscious urges that drive us. Peele dissects stereotypes, basic instincts that kick in when it comes to survival, and the unhinging developments of a brain never experiencing a healthy socialized upringing. Now add extremely sharp social and political commentary mixed with humor and it fittingly explains the multileveled experience while watching this movie: bitter-sweet realization of truths, uncomfortable fear of what humans have always been capable of and the inevitable reflection of who you are and what your place is in the bigger picture.
I won’t miss a quick return to the horror aspect of this since it’s so good: did you expect Elisabeth Moss (Mrs. Tyler) to be creepier than the Joker? Serious props to what the actresses and actors delivered, their ominous postures and off-putting intricacies will make you feel deeply uncomfortable. The fact that each performer plays their own doppelgänger exhillarates the spiral down crazy lane even more. A never-fading smile, a weird walk, or talking while inhaling – these people are Disturbing.
And, finally, remember that this is truly a hell of a good time, even if you leave the philosophy for another day. The Wilson children Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) get a kill count going that will soon rival the one started by Legolas and Gimli. At last, a horror movie that knows how to treat its black characters! Us is a bloody good movie but might cause unease when looking in a mirror.