In Theaters: Us

Us (2019)
Directed By: Jordan Peele
Written By: Jordan Peele

Us was the movie I have been most excited about in 2019. It’s also the one that I have been the most nervous about. As the follow-up to Get Out, there is no doubt that it’s an important film for Jordan Peele. Sure his debut was great but what if Us doesn’t live up to expectations? What if Peele falls victim to the “sophomore slump”? Thankfully, we will never have to answer those questions.

With Us Jordan Peele has solidified his reputation as the king of horror. He has shown himself to be a master filmmaker and someone who is capable of using the horror genre to comment on bigger ideas. Get Out was unmistakably a comment on race in America. Us expands that scope and takes a look at not only issues of race but also of class and xenophobia. The deeper meanings of the film are not overtly evident but instead of being a flaw in the movie, it feels like this is done by design. Us is a film that you will think about long after you’ve seen it and, I imagine, one that is going to reveal more of itself to you upon repeat viewings. I’m looking forward to the debates surrounding what Peele is saying with this movie and honestly, I hope he never tells us and let’s the discussion rage on.

The cast is phenomenal in Us. Lupita Nyong’o really anchors the story, just as her character Adelaide anchors the Wilson family. She is a strong woman who never finds herself waiting around for her husband to swoop in and save her. Winston Duke is Gabe Wilson and plays a husband and father who seems supportive of his wife and children while also serving as the film’s comic relief. He plays both roles equally well. One of the things that I liked most about Us is it’s refusal to use the Wilson kids as props or bait for their parents. They start off as two typical kids but when things go south on the family vacation they show the same strength as their parents do. Congratulations to both Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex for being able to deliver such moving performances at such young ages.

It’s impossible to not compare Us to Get Out (I’ve already done it a couple of times). Us stands on it’s own as a great film but it is the follow-up to Get Out which cut through the horror film community like a shock wave and announced the presence of a filmmaker that we all knew we had to pay attention to. There is a similar feel and tone between the two films. Us turns up the horror factor a bit and once things start happening, it doesn’t let up.

Jordan Peele announced his arrival in 2017. Two years later he has solidified his reputation. He has a lot to say and is a master at using the medium of horror films to say it. I cannot wait to watch Us a second time to see what else I discover and I’m already eagerly awaiting what Mr. Peele will give us next.

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