In ‘Us’ Jordan Peele continues to create extremely well-made horror films, whose originality continue to advance a somewhat stale genre. ‘Us’ tells the story of a family on vacation who, under mysterious circumstances, meet their doppelgängers who are determined to kill them at any cost. In a film so centered in human duality, it’s no surprise that the film offers a healthily mix of both extremely suspenseful and hilariously moments (mainly supplied by Winston Duke’s Gabe Wilson). But it would be impossible to undercut Lupita Nyong’o’s amazing performance as both Adelaide Wilson and Red. She easily presents the audience with emotionally potent characters that feel authentic and sincere.
But it isn’t simply Nyong’o and Duke’s performances that give that movie its palpable sense of horror. For this Peele’s should be mostly attributed. It is clear after only two films that Peele has an evident understanding of how to make an audience feel terror. In contrast to many present-day horror films which serve the viewer a heaping helping of gore and jump scares, ‘Us’ gives the viewer that gut feeling that makes you widen your eyes and scoot to the end of your seat. Another driving attribute to the great sense of suspense in the film score composed by Micheal Abels, which adds icing on the cake of horror to the movie. One great example is how Abels re-arranges Luniz’s, “I Got 5 On It” sinister piano melodies to great effect.
While some may have an issue on the premises that not all the film’s mysteries are solved in the end. I wouldn’t necessarily call that a bad thing, for often the answers are never as rewarding as theorizing on the questions themselves. But in this vein, I would argue that the rules are the world are questionable and un-defined at most often near the tail end of the movie.
While ‘Us’ doesn’t present it’s social commentary as directly and concertedly as ‘Get Out’ did that doesn’t mean that these elements are not there. I would argue that ‘Us’ is far more ambitious and presents viewers with a far more sympathetic villain than in its predecessor. ‘Us’ succeeds in everything that it set out to do and gives viewers a film that can be seen as both simple entertainment and a profound artistic statement.