“Us” Movie Review

posted March 27, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Scott Perdue

Jordan Peele is back with his second film, a hilariously dark and infectiously enjoyable thriller, “Us.” Directing, writing and producing, Peele asserts himself as an innovative and impressively distinct frontrunner in the horror genre.

Open and clear about his influences, yet very successful at differentiating himself from them, Peele returns to his powerful infusions of political and racial commentary within the ongoing themes of “Us.” This film also showcases Peele’s experimentation and arguably the perfecting of his meshing the terrifying and humorous nuances of the horror genre. Able to deliberately make each beat impactful and memorable, Peele’s “Us” is an absolute joy ride, which takes the viewer through an exciting rollercoaster of thrill and amusement.

A man who needs no real introduction, Peele is arguably best known for his work alongside fellow collaborator Keegan-Michael Key, on their sketch comedy show "Key and Peele." Well known for his humor and undeniable presence in the comedy space, Peele shocked fans when he declared that he would be entering the horror genre.

Despite reservations, Peele’s first film “Get Out,” blew away audiences and critics. Peele now returns with an impressive follow-up, which not only succeeds at cementing Peele’s directorial presence but also proves the often-overlooked value and significance of minority filmmakers, creators and artists alike.

Leading the story is one of the horror genre’s first African American middle-class families, able to successfully rise above the common stereotypes often thrust upon them in the genre. Taking place in the seemingly pleasant paradise of Santa Cruz, California, the film takes a dark turn when it is revealed that the main character, Adelaide Wilson, played by actress Lupita Nyong'o, believes she is being hunted by a copy of herself. Unable to prove to her family that there is someone hunting them until it is too late, Adelaide and her family are forced to fight back to survive the night against doppelgangers of themselves, known as “the tethered.”

Supported by a killer soundtrack and a cast of memorable and fun characters, “Us” takes unexpected twists and turns, while also giving the audience several pieces of information to chew on while enjoying the movie. The film also does a particularly noteworthy job of breaking from and poking fun at the common stereotypes and pitfalls of the horror genre.

A passive viewing with friends or in theaters, it is an incredibly enjoyable collective experience, while a far more analytical and detailed viewing, can be even more rewarding. It is important to note, however, that “Get Out” does have an understandably more rewarding re-watching experience than “Us” can deliver. That being said, Peele is an expert at teasing out information and pushing his messages through his fun and creative direction, effectively making it so that the audience is kept engaged and laughing until the very end.

Currently, the film is garnering somewhat of a polarizing and conflicted appreciation. While some may debate whether or not “Us” is better than its predecessor, one has to realize that both films take two completely different directions. While “Get Out” has a far more haunting, heavier and thematic based approach, “Us” allows itself to be more light-hearted and enjoyable.

Although it is true that “Get Out” made respectively larger waves due to its impressively intricate and deeply rooted themes of racial and political commentary, it is important to note that “Us” is also able to make some respectively significant strides in terms of its casting, editing, cinematography, musical direction, and pop culture references that make it a very impressive and important piece of film history as well.

Both films are incredibly impressive and “Us” is by far an exciting addition to Peele’s directorial pursuits, whether one believes it has overcome its predecessor or not.

Nearly fulfilling and surpassing all expectations, “Us” is a well-deserved landmark in horror cinema history and an exciting statement to the much-needed respect and inclusion of minority perspectives and talent, not only in the film industry but in our society as well.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

Scott Perdue is a sophomore majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email rsp5246@psu.edu.