Us (dir. Peele)

Image: Lupita Nyong’o, Evan Alex, and Shahadi Wright Joseph in Us © Photo by Claudette Barius. Property of Universal Pictures


Fresh off the success of Get Out, Jordan Peele returns to the horror genre. This time we follow a middle-class black family as they go away for a summer vacation, everything is typically normal and their serenity is admirable. But all is changed when they are confronted by doppelgangers of themselves, whose only purpose seems to be to terrorize the ‘real’ them.

Director: Jordan Peele. Starring:  Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex [15]

With Jordan Peele I was a little concerned that there was a slight chance that Get Out was a one-hit wonder. Thankfully the opposite is true. With Us Jordan Peele not only demonstrates his ability to create atmospheric and tense horror movies but also layer them deeply and profoundly with metaphors and political allegories.

That is by far the most impressing aspect of Us. Peele’s directing. Everything is very clearly following a path and a vision, with no detail being purely by chance. Peele orchestrates characters, motifs and plot with fine detail in order to not just send shivers down your spine but in fact to get a message across. Like many great directors living and dead, Peele is already establishing a signature style that can be recognised to be his, certain framing of shots that repeat. The type of soundtrack and characters he explores and most notably the issues he wants to be discussed.

Us is a rare horror movie of late and the genre seems to be having somewhat of a reinvigorating the past few years. Peele is demonstrating that not only is he one of the causes but he could very well be a staple horror movie director. Us works brilliantly as the type of movie that also reinvigorates your love for them, makes you think about them more and want to explore further. Us has stuck with me for a few days and I’m eager to repeat viewings to see what else emerges from the shadows. The performances are equally as stunning. Nyong’o gives yet another performance that is so sublime that you almost miss it. She gives not just one superb character but two that seem as opposite to each other as they do in the movie. Then around Nyong’o in the supporting cast, everyone comes out in spades, delivering not just genuine characters as their normal selves but their doppelgangers also.

There is a lot to unpack and explore with Us. But crucially Peele knows exactly how to deliver mixing of genre by implementing a strong humourous tone throughout the film that while sometimes distracts from otherwise poignant moments, it can also bolster scenes with added depth and enjoyment. Peele also gives enough space at the start of the film for regular drama or feel-good factor for us to care about these characters and the family. This does create a little bit of a stumble into the action when it all kicks off but it gives the horror its grit. Us is a superb achievement from Peele and further outlines the return of “smart” horror, outlining Peele as a director to watch as he may very well become a staple name in the horror genre.

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