Us (2019). Film review of the horror starring Lupita Nyong’o

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Horror

image four star rating very good lots to enjoy

Film review, by Claire Durrant, of Us (2019) the horror movie about a woman (Lupita Nyong’o) who, whilst relaxing with her family at their beach house, is attacked by intruders.

Synopsis

Years after experiencing a traumatic experience, Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) travels to her beach house with husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and their children. Constantly on edge that something terrible will happen, Adelaide’s fears become a reality when four intruders attack their home. When the family get face to face with the strangers, they come to realise that they look exactly like them.

Review by @claire_d_air

After the success of Get Out (2017)* which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, comedian and horror maestro Jordan Peele is back for his ‘sophomore’ film.

Just like Get Out, Us is oozing with symbolism, subtext and visual motifs that will delight and satisfy film fanatics. For a second time, Peele is touching on existential and philosophical fears of identity and possession. This time instead of brain transplants and hypnosis, the Wilson family are terrorised by unnerving doppelgängers; The Tethered.

Peele has a talent for collating the best cast, and Us is no exception. Duke is proving himself to be a charismatic actor, and his portrayal of goofy patriarch Gabe provides the film’s comic relief.

Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex are believable as the teenage daughter and timid son who prove they are not defenceless. The actors are all also clearly having a great time playing their tethered counterparts, with their animalistic voices and expressive facial features.

Lupita Nyong’o gives a phenomenal performance as both Adelaide and her doppelgänger Red. You sympathise with motherly Adelaide struggling with PTSD, and fear the raspy voiced Red, with her haunting laugh and unnatural movements.

With Toni Collette giving a standout role in Hereditary (2018) and the ensemble female cast of Suspiria (2018) chillingly great, I hope we continue this era of actresses simply killing it in the horror genre!

Whilst the script of Get Out is more sharp and auspicious, Peele has definitely developed as a director. With the help of cinematographer Mike Gioulakis, Peele establishes eeriness with overhead shots of shadows, long shots of reflections and unsettled camera movements. People may come to complain about the ambiguity and plot holes of Us‘ third act, but Peele is certainly being ambitious. Clearly influenced by The Shining (1980) and the works of Hitchcock, Peele has turned the mundane (rabbits, scissors etc) in to memorable creepy imagery.

People are starting to call Jordan Peele a horror mastermind, he definitely has two great horrors in his repertoire. However remember when Hollywood highly praised M. Night Shyamalan after two films? Putting a huge amount of hype and pressure on a director will always lead to disappointment.

All I hope is – whether through horror or comedy – that Jordan Peele continues to use original storytelling and dynamic filmmaking as an allegory for moral, social and political issues.

For more, see the official website.

For a different take on the widely acclaimed Get Out, see our critic Jason’s review.

Cast & credits

Director: Jordan Peele. Monkeypaw Productions.

Producers: Jason Blum, Ian Cooper, Sean McKittrick.
Writers: Jordan Peele.
Camera: Mike Gioulakis.
Music: Michael Abels.
Sets: Ruth De Jong.

Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex.

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