With comedic roots in his famous comedy show Key and Peele of his namesake, Jordan Peele continues to show his prowess in story writing as he dips his feet into the horror genre. When Peele’s Get Out hit theaters in 2017, no one knew what to expect. We most certainly did not expect a previous mastermind of comedy to give us the racial, horrifying roller coaster that was Get Out. Get Out perfectly blends political commentary with brooding suspense leaving the audience grasping for more. That was why when Us was announced, I eagerly awaited the trailer for a first peek. Distinct from Get Out, Us takes a more “horror” approach and weaves together a story about a family haunted by a nightmare from the past. When I first saw the trailer, I was taken aback, but excited to see what Peele could do with the film. Every fan, including me, was praying that Get Out would not be a one hit wonder for Peele’s dive into Hollywood. After viewing the movie, I can soundly say that we were not let down.
Us begins with a young girl encountering a doppelganger in a house of mirrors on the beach of Santa Cruz. Trust me, this is an extremely simplified version of the horrifying scene. We then flash forward to her as an adult, on vacation with her husband and kids. The family features an all star cast with Lupita Nyongo playing Adelaide, Winston Duke playing her husband Gabe, and Shahadi Wright and Evan Alex playing their two kids. As they are in their vacation house, they are assaulted by their doppelgangers and everything goes downhill from there. Through careful story layering and various flashbacks, the mystery of why the doppelgangers exist and what they want slowly unravels.
On the surface, the movie may seem like a supernatural family invasion story that’s just kind of strange. When you dig deeper, there are a lot of hidden messages.
Peele himself mentions xenophobia in his explanation of the movie.
“This movie is about this country,” he said during the Q&A at the SXSW Film Festival,“We’re in a time where we fear the other, whether it’s the mysterious invader that we think is going to come and kill us and take our jobs, or the faction we don’t live near, who voted a different way than us. We’re all about pointing the finger. And I wanted to suggest that maybe the monster we really need to look at has our face. Maybe the evil, it’s us.”
While we can clearly see this in the movie, we can also examine the commentary on inequity and inequality that is prevalent in our society. We see the Duke and Tyler families at the first act of the movie happily reveling in the freedom and comfort of the beach. We then parallel this to the doppelgangers who live ostracized and forgotten away from the world. They have no freedom or comfort in their way of life. While a lot of the doppelgangers act in horrifying ways, we can see through many of their actions throughout that they are just as human as the rest of us.
Us, of course, is not the perfect movie and has its flaws. The mystery of the doppelgangers at times seems far fetched and almost seems to collapse on itself in its explanation. I found myself enjoying more of the suspenseful horror aspect of the movie rather than the cerebral, mystery one. While I feel Us loses its identity at times and stumbles in some of the plot details along the way, at the very least, it is extremely exciting. With a satisfying conclusion, and its stunning performances, Us is enthralling enough, and will indefinitely provoke contemplation post viewing.
Source: Saintel Daily