Director: Jordan Peele
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Running Time: 116 minutes
An everyday family take their annual trip to their holiday home in Santa Cruz but when another family appear in their back yard and begin to terrorize them, their nightmare is just beginning. They come face to face with their doppelgängers and a nationwide event that threatens the life of every American is triggered.
The cast is probably the very best thing about Us, all playing two very different versions of themselves. Lupita Nyong’o leads the line very well as the haunted mother of the family, Adelaide, who already has to deal with the demons of her past and a childhood trauma. Nyong’o provides and understandably skittish outlook to Adelaide whilst also bringing a sinister darkness to that of her counterpart, Red. Winston Duke, on the other hand, plays Adelaide’s husband, Gabe, with more comic relief and applies the same to Abraham very well. Both versions are very likeable, despite their very different intentions. Everyone’s favourite handmaid, Elisabeth Moss, enjoys a more withdrawn role as family friend Kitty who, alongside her husband – Josh (Tim Heidecker), is drawn into the nightmare and a similar fate befalls her family. Moss seems to revel in her new-found craziness and although it’s a smaller role she’s no less enjoyable. It’s the kids though that really perform and thankfully show none of the irritating tendencies that seem to plague child characters in films such as this. So, special mentions should be made for both Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex as their input is no less valuable than anyone else here.
As a straight up horror movie, Us performs very well. Naturally, Jordan Peele‘s previous work – Get Out – will be used as a measuring stick but we’re in a different kind of peril here. There’s some good tension and terror but there’s also some straight up slaying and malice. What let the film down for me was that it whilst it started its storyline quite well, it took its time to take its course and when it did it just didn’t sit right. The twists and turns, for the majority of the film, worked quite well but both the path and the delivery of the climax just seemed totally implausible and without any real theatrical shock. Of course, you could argue the whole idea was without realism but you still need to carry a certain logic and plausibility to your plot to totally satisfy your viewer.
Verdict 3/5 Stars – Played well but failed to take its chance.