If you know me you’ve probably heard me say that I think most horror movies are crap, and I do, yet I still watch them whenever I get a chance. Why? Because it's not the horror genre thats crap, the horror genre is actually really great, look at Hereditary, A Quiet Place and even 2017’s ‘It’. But for every innovative and original horror film that gets released, there are 20 other shitty horror movies that rely on jump scares and gore.
However, in 2017 we saw a shift in the tide when Jordan Peele brought us his contribution to film in the form of ‘Get Out’. It wasn’t for everyone sure, but it was interesting, thought provoking and it had an agenda. It pushed the boundaries of the horror / thriller genres, and now, Peele has brought us another great movie that transcends expectations.
‘Us’ is the story of Adelaide, (Lupita Nyong’o) returning with her family to the Santa Cruz beach front, where she experienced something extremely traumatising as a child. Her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and her two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) are soon to become familiar with their mothers trauma, as their family vacation is cut short by a creepy doppelgänger version of themselves invading their home and attacking with uncertain but certainly malicious intent. What these creatures are and where they came from is to be discovered as the plot evolves. Beyond that, the audience is left to figure out the rest by themselves.
There was so much about this film that I loved. Firstly, the screenplay was more or less flawless. It was authentic and scary but also organically funny at points where it worked. Finally, a film that incorporates humour into tense scenes without compromising atmosphere or in this case, straight up fear. The characters were effortlessly modern and believable and I basically couldn’t find anything I particularly didn’t like about this script.
Then, when you give it to such an incredibly talented cast, it’s even better! Look, I mean we all know Lupita Nyong’o is an amazing actress, so it’s no surprise that she carried this movie so well, but to play two parallel main roles is really impressive. And that goes for the rest of the cast too! Winston Duke is such a convincing family man with dad jokes and his need to prove he can protect his family. The child actors take on a huge task considering their age but they really pull off the creepy, sinister vibe and the carefree teenager in the same scene. As a whole the main actors create a really convincing family ; they’re scared and they’re confused and yet still find humour in the fucked up situation in which they find themselves. Basically, kudos all around. The cast were great.
Aside from what you see on screen, a lot of the movie worked because of the audio, in particular this really amazing score by Michael Abels. Everything you’d expect from a horror movie like the scratchy violin and the creepy kids singing is all in there. But Peele has used in a way that exceeds the audience expectation and catches them off guard. To use so many tropes and still avoid being cliche is really clever filmmaking.
Obviously there were a few minor things that I didn’t like so much, none of which are particularly worth mentioning. However, without including spoilers, I would just say that I think the final act was ruined slightly by containing too much explanation. One particular sequence right at the end was mismatched to the rest of the film in terms of tone, and in my opinion it just wasn’t really necessary at all.
But yeah, I think that’s about it. Feel free to get in touch and let me know your thoughts and opinions on ‘Us’.
As usual, I’ve linked the trailer below and thank you for reading,