I’ve just left the cinema and I’m in awe of what Jordan Peele has accomplished with his sophomore debut.
Therefore, I shall refrain from any spoilers at this stage, so read away if you haven’t seen the film yet.
Us tells the story of the Wilson family who encounter a family of violent doppelgängers on their driveway.
The story centres on Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) who lives with the memories of an incident from her childhood.
On the night of her birthday, she became lost and ended up in a haunted house full of mirrors and in those mirrors, she saw herself.
This experience has left Adelaide with a constant fear and that fear becomes a reality when her family are faced with their doubles.
The acting in this film is outstanding.
Nyong’o is a force of nature and leads this film with an excellence that we don’t deserve. That’s not to say that Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex don’t also shine. The actors play each character so differently, there’s never a doubt whether the doppelgangers are real.
Us oozes brilliance and Peele cannot be praised enough.
The premise of contrasts his first film, Get Out, which unmasked society’s ingrained racism. Whilst Get Out was a socio-political film, Us focuses more on… well, us.
Or so I thought.
Moreover, while Get Out faced criticism that it wasn’t a “proper” horror film, Peele makes sure we have no questions regarding the horror in Us.
He raises the stakes by increasing the body count, the gore, and taking down a notch the comedy (but still using it perfectly).
As it reminded me a little bit of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games, I was relieved to see that it was the opposite.
Where Haneke felt the need to lecture the viewers on how screwed up horror films are, Peele shows off his love for films and horror through superb filmmaking.
As I’ve mentioned, the premise of Us is to highlight what’s inside of us.
Quite the opposite of Get Out, this film holds a mirror to each of us and urges us to take a hard look at ourselves – really face who and what is behind the mask.
Peele foreshadows this idea throughout the entire film using snippets of dialogue and magnificent camera work.
Double images are seen, even if through a spider, or the weapon the doppelgangers decide to use: a scissor with two identical parts that merge together.
The doppelgangers, or “the tethered”, embody everything we hold inside. Everything we reject to maintain the level of normalcy.
However, no matter how much we try to hide it, how much we try to keep it bottled up, it’s bound to come to the surface.
And it’ll be ugly.
When it happens, it will threaten the commonplaceness and only by killing it we can go back to our ordinary lives.
And here’s the catch. It reinvents the premise with a twist.
While making us investigate ourselves, we must look also at our society.
We are individuals but we belong to a society that has shaped us by thrusting values we now take as the truth.
Therefore, there cannot be an individual without looking at the society to which he or she belongs.
Thus, Us becomes a socio-political film just like Get Out.
It looks at society and depicts how we, especially Americans, treat the other, and how much we’re prepared to fight it in order to keep our lives “normal”.
Us is a 2-hour masterpiece that entertains, scares and proves that not only is horror the best genre in cinema, but it’s also an asset to analyse society.
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