Revisiting ‘Us’

My second film of October was a recent release and Jordan Peele’s sophomore showcase, Us.

Thursday night was my fourth viewing of the film and my opinion still hasn’t changed. I love this movie.

Unfortunately, you don’t really get much more out of it post-second viewing. Once you know what is going on and you understand the social commentary, it can become a standard horror film. However, what puts this film at a higher level than most horror films is the attention to detail and many scenes foreshadowing what is going to happen.

It’s a shame that Lupita Nyong’o didn’t receive a Best Actress nomination at the Academy Awards. Her talent is immeasurable and it shines brightest in this film as she takes on two very different characters in Adelaide and Red (her tethered version, or is she??). She has take on roles where one character is horrified of what’s to come and the other is ready for the impending events.

Winston Duke is brilliant as well. He’s our comedic relief and his humor hits all the right notes. It perfectly captures the strangeness of the events happening but it doesn’t take away from the horror of the situation.

Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex showed the potential they have in their big-screen debuts. Specifically in a horror film, I think it would be hard to direct with kids but Peele did an outstanding job working with them.

The score from Michael Abels (Get Out) is quite possibly my favorite in a horror film. It’s up there with the likes of John Carpenter’s Halloween, which we all know how much I love the music in that film. There’s a certain type of genius you need to be to create a “tethered” version of “I Got 5 On It”. It’s a part of my favorite scene in the film and it is something to behold.

What I really want to get into, and shoutout to my other film buff John Wintroub, Peele traps his audience in trying to explain too much. There are a handful of logical issues and the connections to the government just don’t make much sense. Once Zora brings up the government conspiracies early on in the film, you then know that the “tethered” are probably involved with the government, and this is confirmed by Red in the final act. Peele put himself into a corner because we never find out how these clones were made and how they are able to survive off of just eating rabbit. The idea of “tethered” versions of ourselves is really cool but when it involves the government, there is a lot that needs to be explained and Peele doesn’t do that. The movie could have been perfect if the “tethered” world was supernatural because logic can go out the window from there.

Another issue I had with the film is the hint of a deeper connection between Adelaide and Jason. When we first meet Red and Pluto, Pluto acts as a pet to Red more than a son. She pets him and signals cues for him to do certain things. I would have liked about 15-20 minutes dedicated to more background on the family and the mother-son dynamic.

To put it cap on this revisit, I also have to praise the easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film. The nods to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the single glove, Zora’s outfits being associated with rabbits and the consequences the “tethered” endure for the acts played out by their above-ground selves, it all works seamlessly and proves that Peele knows what he is doing and the creative wizardry he is displaying. If he can just hone in on a more-focused films like Get Out, the man is going to be the horror equivalent to Christopher Nolan.

Rating: 9/10

2 down, 29 to go.

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