Us is another home run for Jordan Peele


Claudette Barius

Brendan Sheardy, Staff Writer

  Us follows a family of four who travels to Santa Cruz beach over the summer and are attacked by four strange people who look exactly like them. This horror flick stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joesph, and Evan Alex. This is the second film from the rising director, Jordan Peele, who previously directed Get Out.

  Jordan Peele once again delivers an intense, terrifying, and original horror film. I was hooked from the opening scene, as Peele’s camerawork and imagery got under my skin and deeply unsettled me. One shot, in the opening sequence during a flashback to the main character’s past, features her standing on the beach at night. She looks back to see an eerie house of mirrors that is lit up in the front, but the inside is pitch black. It was excellent use of suspense and visuals to scare that propels the unnerving tone throughout

  The first act of this film builds up the suspense very well, as small details slowly get revealed, until the invaders eventually show up to the house. The main character, Adelaide, is forced to confront her past as she goes back to the same beach that she has a personal connection with, and as she begins to notice many of the same things still on the beach, it adds to the suspense and tension.

  Jordan Peele has definitely upped his game here, as he improves his directing in nearly every way from Get Out. His shot structure and movement flow much better and add even more anxiety as the slow camera movements and extended shots prep the audience to be freaked out. Peele knows exactly what he is doing in terms of making an effective horror film, which is refreshing, since most modern horror directors eventually fall into the typical tropes that associate with the genre. He is also developing his own style, as from the opening credits alone you know it’s a Jordan Peele film. His unique way of imagining characters and macabre situations adds to the originality of his films, and Us is no exception. I’m so excited to see what he does next.

  The acting is superb in Us. Lupita Nyong’o is incredible here as both Adelaide and her doppelganger. She essentially plays two characters and is effective as both of them. She was freaky as “Red” and also provided an emotional pull to both Adelaide and Red. She shows off her range as an actress as every emotion that can be felt was portrayed beautifully by her. I know it’s too early to say, but I could see her getting an oscar nomination for her incredible performance. Winston Duke is mostly used for comedic relief, but he did a fantastic job. He hits every line with great timing and energy, which fuels each joke, and had me laughing almost every time.

  The two child performances from Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex are great. They effectively portray fear and the sense of nervousness that children would feel in this situation. It was great work by both of them, because usually children in horror films are very unbelievably, but I bought every second of their performances.

  I’d say the second act is the only flaw I have with this film, as there is some misplaced comedy in it. Granted, the comedy is actually funny, so it eases it somewhat, but it did take me out of the moment of tension, and it had a hard time getting me back in for a while. The supporting members of the family also become static characters, since they aren’t given much more development past the first act, as it focuses solely on Adelaide and the strange epidemic of the doppelgangers.

  Adelaide is also a character that I felt was static past the first act, but I quickly shifted my thoughts after the mind-blowing twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. It flipped the entire movie on it’s head and made me rethink everything that happened in the film, which actually repaired a few flaws I had in the middle section of the film.

  Overall, Us is a fantastic horror film that got under my skin and made me think about the entire movie afterwards. It’s been a day since I’ve seen it and I still can’t get it out of my mind. It is filled with creepy imagery and masterful direction and provides a new and fresh experience for a horror film. I can’t wait to see it again, and I highly recommend you all go out and see it.

  Rating: 9/10