Us (2019) Archive Review

This film freaked me out when I watched it in the cinema, so I was excited to watch it again to see if it had the same effect.

Certificate: 15

Director: Jordan Peele

Screenwriter: Jordan Peele

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss

Genre: Horror Mystery

Runtime: 116 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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Not far from the sun-kissed Santa Cruz beach where she had a traumatic childhood experience, the now-mother-of-two, Adelaide, reluctantly returns to their serene lake house with her husband, Gabe, to spend the summer vacation. Before the end of the day, the happy holidaymakers will see their worst fear come true, as an evil quartet who bears an uncanny resemblance to them stands in their driveway. Then, they pull out their sharp scissors. What do “they” want from them? – From IMDB

In his relative short stint as a director, with only two films to his name, Jordan Peele has solidified himself as an exceptional talent in the genre.  His films, while never overtly terrifying, with no monsters, or ghosts or other such horror movie trappings, have a great way of unsettling their audiences, and stick with us for a long time.  I was a big fan of his first film ‘Get Out’ but wouldn’t necessarily have considered it a horror.  This one is definitely horror.  I saw this upon release in the cinema and it freaked me out good.  I can’t even tell you what it was that unsettled me so much, but it certainly left an impression.  Enough of one on fact, that when the film landed on Netflix this week, I had to give it a rewatch, to see if it still held up.  It did.

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The doppelgangers cannot speak, or really communicate in anyway, other than Red, so the scariest thing about them is we really have no idea what they want.  They can’t be reasoned with or negotiated with.  They kill or maim their respective tethers and then go and line up, in this twisted version of ‘Hands Across America.’  The more we learn about them the creepier it gets.  Clone experiments, mind control attempts, and then leaving them abandoned underground for years.  It all goes a long way to creating a great chilling atmosphere.

All the acting in the film is superb, this film has a stellar cast, but Nyong’o really is the shining star of the entire.  Not only is her performance as Addie excellent, full of emotion and fear, she does a lot of the hard work in the beginning act of the film to build a sense of dread in the audience.  But then her portrayal of the doppelganger Red is absolutely incredible.  Terrifying, chilling and completely engrossing.  It was a crime that she didn’t get more recognition by the major award circuit for this performance.

Firmly solidifying Jordan Peele as one of my favourite directors, this film is a must watch for horror fans!  Peele’s next film is slated for a 2022 release and I cannot wait to see what he does next.

‘Us’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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