- “Us” is not just a movie. It’s an experience.
- Jordan Peele’s second time in the director’s chair is both a brilliant thriller and laugh-out-loud funny.
- Like “Get Out,” it should be watched with a crowd for the collective experience.
- By the end, you’ll probably want to see it again to view the film from a different perspective.
- “Us” is in theatres Friday, March 22.
I never thought I’d watch another movie like “Get Out.” Jordan Peele’s directorial debut wasn’t just an eye-opening thriller, it was an experience. It was a movie that gave you a reason to go to theatres to see it with an audience. People cheered and rallied behind the protagonist as he went after the bad guys. They yelled out loud when someone made a poor decision.
Get ready for that again with “Us.”
Peele’s second movie stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, a couple who are going on vacation with their two young children Jason (Evan Alex) and Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph). But then they get visited by a menacing doppelganger family and it just gets wilder from there. I don’t want to say anything more because it’s best to watch this movie only knowing what’s been teased in trailers.
“Us” is just as good as Peele’s first film, if not better, and that’s because of the cinematography, the outstanding score that will be stuck in your head long after the credits roll, and the elevated performances of the cast – especially Nyong’o.
Simply put, “Us” is going to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. By the film’s very end, you’re going to have one thought on your mind: I need to watch this again. Immediately.
What to know: ‘Us’ was directed by Jordan Peele, the director of ‘Get Out,’ and stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Elisabeth Moss
“Us” is the follow-up to director Jordan Peele’s 2017 Oscar-winning movie, “Get Out.” Similar to his last film, this one also comes from executive producer Jason Blum, who has produced hits like “BlacKkKlansman,” “Paranormal Activity,” and “Split.”
Nyong’o won a supporting actress Oscar for her role in “12 Years a Slave.” Her role in this film should position her for a lead actress nod. “Golden Globe” winner Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men,” “The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Winston Duke (“Black Panther”) also star.
Am I going to be scared? Will this give me nightmares? Well, you’ll at least certainly laugh. Really.
While I can’t promise you might not have some nightmares about scissor-wielding individuals chasing you after seeing the film, you will most certainly not be scared the entire time.
“Us” manages to balance the horror with a lot of light-hearted and laugh-out-loud moments similar to “Get Out,” mainly thanks to the performance of Winston Duke.
What’s great: The score, the cinematography, the story, and Lupita Nyong’o
When was the last time you went to a movie not knowing what it was really going to be about? Universal Pictures did a great job of not giving away too much of its movie in the film’s trailers. Instead, the studio focused on the right features to highlight. When you simply see a silhouette of the golden scissors from its marketing on screen, you’re on edge. When you see an ominous family in the driveway of the Wilson’s, you know things are about to get scary.
Something that makes “Us” so effective is that Peele has a way of making the most innocent images come across as frightening – seagulls flying at the beach, a man buried in the sand, and a Frisbee whizzing close by someone’s head.
You don’t know what direction “Us” is going to take most of the movie and that’s OK. The journey getting to its mind-bending conclusion is part of the fun while watching. Although “Us” is definitely a thriller that can be enjoyed alone, you’re going to have the best experience viewing this film with a crowd. The audience is on a roller-coaster of emotions together as they collectively cheer on a protagonist for fighting back against a home invader one moment and then shout out at someone who may fall into a typical horror movie trope the next.
“Us” is why we go to movie theatres. It’s an experience we can’t get from streaming content at home.
Give Lupita Nyong’o an Oscar for best leading actress. Nyong’o slays as both a mother willing to go to any lengths to protect her family from a mysterious family of look-alikes and as a haunting shadow of herself. There are moments in the film where her facial expressions and eyes alone deliver more than any words could say.
Duke’s presence is the much-needed light in this otherwise dark film. He comes in swinging at the start with dad jokes, which he knows are corny and his kids tell him are painfully embarrassing. But whenever things get a bit too stressful, he’s the perfect palette cleanser.
Wright Joseph, who plays the daughter of the family, also stands out for her dual roles as a teenager who rises to the occasion when her parents are overwhelmed and a creepy, sadistic young girl.
It’s not just the performances. There are some beautiful scenes in this movie. A few that come to mind include a shot of an abandoned candy apple on the sand on a dark beach, Nyong’o searching a deserted hallway filled with rabbits, and a haunting moment with Elisabeth Moss.
A highlight of the film comes early on when the camera does a full pan as the Wilson family watches their house broken into from different angles.
You’re also going to want to look up the soundtrack after leaving theatres. Luniz’s updated “I’ve Got 5 On It” isn’t just in the trailers, it plays throughout a lot of the film and brings an added level of stress into every scene its included in.
Like “The Shining” and “The Sixth Sense,” “Us” is easily going to go down as a horror classic.
What’s Not: You have to be really nit-picky to find flaws in this film
If anything, you’ll leave the theatre with more questions that may be better served by watching the movie again. The question here isn’t what’s wrong with the movie, but what details you probably missed the first time around while watching.
This is a movie that critics and film professors will dissect for decades for its social and political commentary and a bunch of other spoiler-y questions it will leave you asking.
Bottom line: See this opening weekend with a crowd. And then, maybe see it again.
Overall, Peele delivers a movie that demands to be watched at least twice. You’re going to want to seek it out – for answers, to watch the film from a different perspective, to see what little Easter eggs and details you missed the first time around, and more.
I cannot emphasise how much you should see this movie in a crowded theatre. Peele is not only creating great narratives about the horrors of society, but he’s also making great movies with the audience in mind to make the theatre-going experience worthwhile. While the shared collective experience of others may make you miss a line or two here and there, it makes for a much more immersive outing.
Other than that, see this one for Lupita Nyong’o’s killer and heartbreaking performances and the countless beautiful shots.
“Us” is easily the best movie I’ve seen this year, by far. Better than “Captain Marvel,” “Shazam,” “How to Train Your Dragon 3.” It’s not even a competition.
“Us” is in theatres Friday, March 22. You can watch a trailer for it here and below.
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