Us (2019)

us poster 2019 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Visually compelling, good cast

Feels like some missed opportunities involving the plot

Movie Info

Movie Name: Us

Studio: Monkeypaw Productions

Genre(s): Horror/Mystery/Suspense/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): March 8, 2019 (South by Southwest)/March 22, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

us cast tethered family

This is why you never invite your doppelgangers over…

After a childhood incident at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) has been wary of the beach and uncomfortable situations.  When her husband Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) agrees to a visit with their family friends Kitty (Elisabeth Moss) and Josh (Tim Heidecker) at the ocean, Adelaide’s past comes back to haunt her.  Visited at night by strangers, Adelaide, Gabe, their daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and their son Jason (Evan Alex) are faced by horror…and it is like looking in a mirror.

Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Us is a psychological sci-fi horror film.  The movie was released to positive reviews and a strong box office.

us lupita nyongo red tethered

Lupita is here to play!

I was totally pumped about Us.  I thought the trailers of Get Out look like they were pandering to fears and clichés, but I ended up finding the movie original, smart, and fun…and it would be hard to top.  While overall I enjoyed Us, it isn’t as good as Peele’s first outing (but it is still good).  Due to the plot of the movie a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

The story is about duality, but it seems to fail to push it far enough.  The nature of man, the hidden man, and the underbelly of humanity feel touched upon, but it feels like Peele should have “dug” even deeper.  The social aspect of the story really feels like it should drive the story, but it is driven more by the terror of the situation.

us evan alex closet tethered pluto

What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?

Us also struggles is the set-up.  For me, it was too obvious that Adelaide was her clone.  She couldn’t talk (like the doppelgangers) and her doppelganger seemed to be the only one who could talk.  It also frankly wouldn’t have made sense thematically for the characters not to be switched at the beginning of the film…it is the point of the film.  As a result, the “twist” ending doesn’t seem like a twist ending but expected.  It just leaves you with more questions about the experiment in the first place: if everyone has a doppelganger are they always just running into walls and things as they are tethered to their above ground doppelgangers?  Where do they all the gloves and scissors?  It is better not to start asking questions.

The cast is good and Lupito Nyong’o gives a great performance as Adelaide who doesn’t seem comfortable in her own skin.  She’s backed up by a great supporting cast who does seem to develop (though Evan Alex is supposed to be the “scariest” doppelganger, I find Shahadi Wright Joseph the most terrifying of the doppelgangers with her sinister smile).  The Elisabeth Moss-Tim Heidecker couple is odd in that they are already jerks…should their doppelgangers be nice?

us elisabeth moss lupita nyongo

You’re a Mad Man!

Visually, the movie gets it.  It is creepy and visually compelling.  I always think any movie which has the “creatures” moving in strange, inhuman nature are scary.  The wide-eyed, insane look of the doppelgangers ratchet up the horror.

Us has great points and bad points, but it is a movie that leaves you thinking (which is already a step above many other films).  I like what Jordan Peele is attempting, and I like how his career is progressing.  I do worry with the desire to trick and twist with every film, that it will be a hard let-down when he has a film that doesn’t live up to the previous films (think M. Night Shyamalan).  I still stand by Peele, and hope he delivers more like Us.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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