Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out was the rarest of films… a horror movie that drove in hordes of non-horror fans. It combined genuine thrills with a darkly funny core that won over almost everyone who saw it. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, Peele’s love of horror combined with his ongoing success with comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key provoked an impressive new voice in cinema. Of course, if you’ve done it once, expectations are high for the follow-up. Now Peele brings us… Us. Not necessarily a direct sequel to Get Out but the next in Peele’s line of ‘social thrillers’.
Us flashes to different points in the life of Adelaide Thomas (Lupita Nyong’o in one of her finest performances yet). We see a family vacation she took as a child including an eerie beachside house of mirrors. We see the aftermath of some mysterious trauma. Then most of the movie is spent with Adelaide as a mother. Her family has tripped out to the family’s Santa Cruz beach house. They take an unsettling trip to that same beach Adelaide had seen as a child. Back at the house later that night, am enraged group breaks in and threatens Adelaide’s family. The intruders are exact doppelgangers out for vengeance.
Going any further would be spoiler-ridden territory but once Us gets going it’s a non-stop thrill ride. The laughs are still prevalent, but this time Peele has evened out the comedy-horror quotient to 30/70. Get ready for the occasional jump scare and literally head-turning changes of pace because Us keeps you guessing. Which may be the only criticism of this movie. Us often feels like it’s pointing towards some deeper issue but it remains stubbornly elusive. There’s no easy answers and that’s for better or worse. You’ll likely leave the cinema carefully considering what it all means, there’s already a world of conspiracies and fan analysis online, but you may never reach it.
Us is a thoroughly successful follow up from Jordan Peele and proves Get Out was far from a fluke. Peele claims there’s more social thrillers to follow, we can’t wait for him to scare us again.