Thursday, March 28, 2019

[Film Review] Us

Following the excellent horror hybrid Get Out, writer-director Jordan Peele returns with another eerie nail-biter called Us. And while it doesn’t match the boldness and pure originality of Get Out, it’s still a solid and effective, mostly straightforward slasher flick. 

The story reflects upon a family played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke, along their two kids (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex). Just as they settle down for a nice and relaxing beach house vacation, they’re each abruptly approached by their own demented doppelgängers, forcing them to fight for survival and figure out what the hell is going on.

Between the creepy opening sequences that involve houses of mirrors and white rabbits in cages, and the initial doppelgänger showdown (the croaky voice of Lupita’s double is enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck), Us gets off to a really strong start. It’s forbidding and tense and genuinely scary. This thing is also very well shot, and the camerawork is as tricky as the film itself. The music is piercingly dreadful and nerve-racking, and the most impressive thing about the whole film is that it manages to turn Luniz’s 1995 hit “I Got 5 on It” into a haunting horror score. 

But as the film progresses, it gets a little repetitive, to the point where it doesn’t feel like it’s doing much different from a typical slasher or zombie flick. It’s a well-crafted one, but not necessarily a bold or inventive one. It also isn’t as thematically rich as Get Out, which can’t help but make the film feel like it’s missing a link. The “WOW” factor isn’t there. It sets sight on the duality of humans, but doesn’t exactly leave us with a provocative impact. Don’t get it twisted though, this is still a very entertaining film when taken as it is. 

In Us, our biggest enemy as a whole is ourselves, and the scariest person could be the one looking back at us in the mirror. Or is it the other way around?


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