Jordan Peele Impresses Again With “Us”

Jared Schmitt, Staff Writer

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Following the success of his directorial debut in “Get Out”, Jordan Peele again impresses with another horror movie entitled “Us” that subverts horror tropes to instead make the metaphors and satire the focus of the scares. “Us” is about a woman and her family spending a vacation at her beach home where she had a traumatic experience as a child. They soon become targeted by people wearing masks, and once the masks are removed they are revealed to be doppelgangers of the family. This is where the film loses some of its luster from missing certain elements that would have made it amazing, but in spite of this, “Us” is still a must see movie because of it’s eerie tone and atmosphere, and a twist that, while somewhat predictable, is still incredibly impactful.

The one issue that the film is lacking is having the doppelgangers talk. Nothing is more scary than a person thinking they are talking to someone they trust and feel safe around just to find out they were in danger the whole time, and “Us” seems like it would make great use of this, but it does not ever really come into play. Only the mother’s evil version talks, and this is not used to lull the others into a false sense of security. Instead,  her talking is just used for exposition and advancement of the plot, and while this worked well and did bring some creepiness to their plans, “Us” still does not fully take advantage of having characters that sound the same. This is a missed opportunity, but it does not detract greatly from the whole film.

Jordan Peele excels at building a creepy energy and atmosphere using seemingly ordinary situations, and this rings true in this film. Despite seeming calm and peaceful, there is just enough slightly off about the vacation home that lends itself to not knowing when the doppelgangers would actually emerge. When they do, the viewers are left on the edge of their seat not knowing when they would emerge next to terrorize the family. To go along with this, the twist also leaves the viewers to go back and replay moments where it was more obvious. Even though it could be seen by some as very easy to see coming, the twist still warrants a second watch through of the movie to see it all with the new knowledge.

While other home invasion movies like “The Purge” focus on violence and the threat of death, “Us” instead decides to start with a slow build that greatly helps build up its atmosphere of knowing something is about to go awry but not quite knowing when. To go along with this, the moment the antagonists enter the film is unrelenting in giving the viewers a chance to fully calm down and benefits from keeping up the uneasiness. In spite of maybe leaving somethings on the table by not fully utilizing the idea of the families being identical, the atmosphere, tone and twist in “Us” makes it a must watch movie.