Friday Film Review - "Us"
Director Jordan Peele returns to theaters with “Us”, the follow-up to his debut 2017 American horror film “Get Out”. Is his sophomore effort equally as frightening?
Do you ever wonder what’s lurking deep underground? In the opener of director Jordan Peele’s new horror film “Us”, viewers learn that there are thousands of miles of empty underground passageways across the United States. Next, comes a TV commercial clip highlighting the 1986 charity event Hands Across America. What the two have in common is not clear, but they foreshadow the next two hours of Peele’s eerie and intricate tale.
The story of “Us” starts in 1986, when we meet Adelaide, a mysterious young girl growing up in Santa Cruz. CA. Adelaide’s parents take her for an evening of fun at the seaside pier for what appears to be a birthday celebration. The quiet, wide-eyed youngster, wanders away from her parents through boisterous carnival, candy apple in hand, and winds up in a mysterious and creepy fun house.
It’s closing time, the lights go out, and Adelaide is suddenly trapped in a hall of mirrors where she sees a vision that will haunt her throughout her life.
Fast forward 30 or so years, and the adult Adelaide (in an impressive performance by academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o) is now a wife and mother, returning to Santa Cruz for a family vacation. It’s her first visit since the frightening ordeal in the fun house. Adelaide’s husband Gabe (played by Winston Duke) is all about making the fun in the family’s summer vacation, much to the dismay of their kids - Zora the brooding teenager played by Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Jason the imaginative younger brother played by Evan Alex.
The family settles in for what appears to be a week at the seaside, but something is not quite right. Adelaide immediately senses something unsettling. And when Gabe suggests an outing to meet their friends at the pier, Adeliade wants out of Santa Cruz immediately.
After some pleading by Gabe and the kids, Adelaide eventually gives in and joins the family at the beach, but old fears resurface when she catches a glimpse of the still standing house of terror from her youth.
Back home for the night, the family’s quiet evening is disrupted when one of the kids spots a mysterious family of four standing in the shadows of the driveway. Things get super creepy when the strangers from the dark emerge as scissor-wielding, grunting clones of Adelaide’s own family.
What follows involves a night of terror, best not to share to avoid spoilers. but I can tell you this, you will be kept on the edge of your seat through the film.
“Us” deserves your full attention, as many of the twist, turns and tiny details are important post-film when you are ask yourself or your movie companion, “what the heck was that about?”
Rated R for violence, terror and language, and running 120 minutes, Peele cements his reputation as a modern-day Hitchcock, with “Us”.