Although he had such a strong debut into the genre a couple of years back, I wasn’t sure whether we would get another horror film from Jordan Peele. Was it a one time thing? Had he just needed to get the horror bug out of his system? Luckily for fans of his work and the genre as a whole, it certainly was not just one-and-done, as we are now treated to his latest film, Us.
A family arrives at their beach house for a nice little getaway. It isn’t before long that their little vacation is put to a screeching halt, as a mysterious family shows up at their doorstep. It isn’t just a random family of strangers with evil intentions, however… it’s themselves.
After slacking on seeing Get Out in theaters upon its 2017 release, I was determined to never make that mistake again. As soon as a new Jordan Peele-directed horror film was announced, I made the vow to myself to buy tickets and get the full theatrical experience. Was Us worth it though?
The short answer is yes; Us is a fantastically created and brilliantly executed horror film with comedic elements. It is not a comedy, as some Reddit or Instagram users would have you believe, but it does have some very well placed comedy sprinkled throughout its rather long 116 minute runtime. It never took the film into horror comedy territory, however. Instead, comedy was used to lighten the mood and provide some levity to an overall rather disturbing film.
Jordan Peele has a very unique style when it comes to creating terror for his audience. This is the case for any successful director of the genre, but none can pull things off quite like he can. For instance, I’m not sure I’d accept “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys as a soundtrack during a family massacre from anyone other than this man. It is, once again, that strategically placed ironic comedy in the face of downright brutality that fleshes out a rather surreal on-screen experience.
I don’t think it was ever a question in my mind how the acting was going to be throughout Us. With a cast consisting of Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and Winston Duke, among others, there is no way we would ever possibly see anything but stellar performances.
Having to pull off one role in a horror film is tough enough, but imagine playing two completely different ones. Now that takes some real acting chops and both Nyong’o and Duke, along with youngsters Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, were more than up to the task.
I was only previously familiar with Winston Duke’s work from another fantastic film, The Black Panther. Being in a Marvel film as The Ape-man, M’Baku, is rather limiting, so I was actually quite impressed with his performance in Us. He is able to show more versatility and I absolutely love almost everything this man utters throughout the film. I can see a long and successful career for him and hope to see him in both more horror and more comedies in the future.
Us is going to be a polarizing film, just as Get Out is. Fans are going to either hate it or love it with the same ferocity. It isn’t without its faults, but it is a very entertaining film that accomplishes what it set out to do.
Us is terrifying when it needs to be, funny when it is necessary. It is a solid entry into the world of horror cinema and I am extremely happy that Jordan Peele made it. He does leave things up to a certain level of interpretation and does provide a plot that has lots of social commentary beneath its surface. This is what will inevitably split its audience down the middle of love it or hate it.
I highly recommend giving Us a fair chance to either impress you or utterly disappoint you. Either way, I strongly urge you to buy a ticket and go see it in the theater like it is intended. Support the genre, support talented directors that are trying to bring fans awesome movie-going experiences, and help horror to continue to grow!
I give Us 4.5 boats named “B-yacht’ch” out of 5!