We were all blown away by how big of an impact Get Out had not just of us, but the entire horror genre. Becoming one of six horror films to be nominated for Best Picture, Jordan Peele impressed us with a fantastic knowledge of horror and how deep the story ran in Get Out. Of course, I was chomping at the bit to see how Jordan Peele would consolidate himself as a masterful horror director in Us. And I’m happy to report that Peele, as a director, isn’t a one hit wonder. Us is a beautifully thought out horror film that feels separate from Get Out and focuses on being part of the genre.
Whilst Get Out was a horror with social commentary, it is very difficult to find some sort of correlation to social commentary in Us. If you dig at the layers for long enough, I’m sure you can find something, even the title holds a double meaning if you really think about it, but for the film itself it does distance itself from hiding any other meanings. When I stopped to think about this, I’m glad Peele decided to get his route. Not only does this approach carve out his path for a career as a horror director, but it’s also shown us that he is a filmmaker who has respect for the genre & carefully crafted his own vision of horror to suit simple storytelling, whilst retaining a wide scope.
As for the film itself, it can be said that the actors are putting in double the effort in Us, having to play both their characters lighter selves and darker doppelgängers. Lupita Nyong’o (Adelaide/Red) is exceptional being both a caring and intimidating face in Us, proving her versatility. It can’t be helped but to compare the two performance, it is a close call and depends on what you want from an actor, but I think her terrifying half is the better of the two. So much of the audience’s terror is to the unknowingness of what the doppelgängers want and why they are here, throw in a croaky voice and primaeval roars and their entire presentation is oddly reminiscing of those classic monster horror film.
The balance of light and dark in Us also leaks into the tone of the film through some great comedy which is heavily supplied by Winston Duke (Gabe/Abraham). He is the most charismatic character in the film when he is his lighter Gabe and most of the jokes and laughable “things that go wrong” scenes come from him. How the film injects the humour into what is an intense situation does not compromise the films horror elements. Being a big part of comedy for most of his career, Jordan Peele knows how comedy and horror share the same importance of timing and uses his skills in timing as a comic to know how light or heavy the comedy needs to be.
People forget that with Get Out there was another one hit wonder besides Peele, that man is composer Michael Abels and his work should by no means be overlooked. You would never believe that this was only his second time as a composer because the score of Us is beyond remarkable. Once again, timing comes into play here, the single violin note is timed perfectly to character movement making the doppelgängers creepier and gives them a low to medium level of sadistic traits.
There are a lot of motifs at play with the idea of rabbits. I don’t want to spoil the film too much in this review so let’s just say it’s a great way to visually set you up for a bigger picture. The rest of the motifs are like jigsaw pieces that with enough patience will fit together and this leads on to my advice on having an open mind before seeing Us. As we’ve seen with Get Out Jordan Peele doesn’t just give you the premise like most horrors nowadays, it’s not like the trailer gives everything away.
There is something however that will affect your judgement which for a film like Us and how Jordan Peele has presented his directorial style isn’t fair. If you are going to be comparing Us to Get Out, you may not have the best of time. It may still be that you think Us is a great film but saying that Get Out was the better of the two isn’t giving Us any justice. These two films aren’t even in the same category of Horror, as I have explained there is very little social commentary is Us, therefore I feel it stands alone from Get Out.
But let’s not forget that Us is still a remarkably intense horror film where everyone involved puts in double the effort to make this a fantastic thing to witness. Jordan Peele has absolutely proven that he is a new face of horror and that he isn’t going away any time soon. Every studio will be wanting a piece of the Peele train ride and you can be certain that his next film will be just as anticipated.
Final Result: 9/10 – Excellent
Have you seen Us? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Dumbo