Jordan Peele, the genius behind Get Out comes back to scare the bejesus out of us with, well, Us. All he had to do to scare me though was just make a movie about people eating toffee apple. That is gross.
Us features Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Evan Alex, and Shahadi Wright Joseph as the Wilson family. They’re on holiday at Adelaide’s (Nyong’o) childhood home near Santa Cruz beach, and while things are great at first, they are soon terrorized by their doppelgangers: alternate versions of themselves that have appeared – seemingly – from nowhere.
The first thing (or should I say person) to circle out is Winston Duke is as Gabe. For me Winston makes this movie, giving a hilarious and great performance. While Us would still be an ok film without him, it is so much better because of him. Lupita is also great; I don’t think she could put in a bad performance is she tried. Her movements and her expressions are great at helping build powerful characters. Evan and Shahadi are Jason and Zora are also really good, it great to know that the acting industry is not short of great young actors. They are all also equally great as their doppelganger counterparts – Abraham, Red, Pluto and Umbrae.
Also, in the mix is Elizabeth Moss as Kitty Tyler and Tim Heidecker as Josh Tyler as the Wilson’s family friends. Moss is great as Kitty; her facial expressions are fantastic, and she has an fabulously bitchy tone that is intentionally very annoying. However, it’s Tim that steals the scenes between the two as his chauvinistic wanker is someone who thinks everyone likes him, when it’s clear many wouldn’t. While the actors provide purposely irritating performances, and absolutely nail them, their characters have the worst chemistry which is also clearly intentional.
Us starts off great. It’s creepy, almost frightening and when the doppelgangers show up, as they cause all kinds of terror. Peele does a great job at keeping it dark, allowing us to feel the terror that the Wilson’s feel. The dual performances from the actors as their doppelganger counterparts is great, with their movements and expressions changing completely, making it exciting to watch them act against each other. Their movements lift the creepiness of the film entirely.
Throughout Us, the scope begins to change – the plot thickens, the narrative changes as do the characters, and everything starts to spin out of control. Everything you were thinking in the first half is thrown out of the window in the second half. While it never loses its franticness, it certainly loses its creepiness – except for when Lupita Nyong’o as Red is on screen. When the second and third acts happen, Us becomes less tense and less enjoyable – but, it’s worthwhile noting, not to the point where it is unenjoyable. The change in the tone of the film isn’t necessarily a bad one, it’s just a completely unexpected one. It felt like the first half of Us was just put in front of the second half of a different film, making it feel disconnected.
As with Get Out, one of the massive positives to take away from Us is the talent of Jordan Peele. The guy is coming up with original stories and has the facilities to execute his visions. With Us and Get Out being so successful, it means we have many more warped originals to look forward to.
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elizabeth Moss
Writer: Jordan Peele