Jordan Peele’s Us is terrifying, highly styled and has brilliant performances

Jordan Peele’s Us is terrifying, highly styled and has brilliant performances

March 22, 2019 0 By Today news

JORDAN PEELE’s pretty much rewrote the horror movie manual with his directorial debut Get Out.

He took elements of The Twilight Zone — a series he is rebooting himself — then combined it with a socially conscious and critical look at the world from a black man’s perspective.

Us is the first ever conscientious horror film which leaves you thinking days afterwards
AP:Associated Press

With his latest movie, Peele has created the first conscientious horror genre[/caption]

Audiences and critics lapped it up. It won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2018, was nominated for two more and made a worldwide star out of its Brit lead actor Daniel Kaluuya.

The pressure on Peele to follow that must have been immense but he has not let it faze him.

The trailer for Us genuinely scared me and had one of the best uses of music I’ve heard in years — the creepy reimagining of US hip-hop duo Luniz’s song I Got 5 On It is a masterstroke.

But would the main event live up to it? Or had they used up the best bits to reel us in? Seriously, it hadn’t even taken its coat off.

The film tracks a family being terrorised by a family that looks just like them
AP:Associated Press

The film tracks a family being terrorised by a family that looks just like them[/caption]

Us takes all the elements that made Get Out such a meaty joint to get our teeth into — and dials it up to eleven.

Peele takes sardonic wit, drenches it in blood and leaves us asking a whole lot of questions about the state of the world. It is an utterly brilliant piece of filmmaking.

After being told about a plethora of tunnels running under the USA without a purpose, we begin in 1986 at a Santa Cruz fairground — the setting for The Lost Boys, film fans — and see a young Adelaide wandering off from her parents into a scary-looking hall of mirrors.

An event there terrifies her so much she comes out completely changed.

The films stras Lupita Nyong’o, from Star Wars and
AP:Associated Press

The films stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke[/caption]

Fast-forward to the present day and an adult Adelaide, played by Star Wars’ Lupita Nyong’o, is travelling back to the resort with her husband Gabe (Black Panther’s Winston Duke) and kids Jason and Zora for the first time since.

Hoping for a relaxing time with friends, played perfectly by unlikeable Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss, their plans are thrown when one evening Jason utters the words, “There’s a family in our driveway.” He’s right, there is — and they’re exactly the same as them.

Then it gets really creepy.

This is such a twisty, original premise, it’s hard to do it justice in writing.

Us is far gorier than Get Out but and descends into slasher territory but it doesn't hurt the film at all
AP:Associated Press

Us is far gorier than Get Out but and descends into slasher territory but it doesn’t hurt the film at all[/caption]

While it’s less psychological than Get Out, it’s far more bloody and gory. In fact, in parts it does descend into slasher territory.

It’s not as supernatural or inherently evil like, for instance, last year’s Hereditary — but it is deeply unsettling.

You have no clue about the source of the horror until Peele chooses to reveal it but are more than happy just to grip on to the armrests and let it take you along with it.

Of course, underneath the highly styled and brilliant performances is the movie’s message.

We’re terrified long before we realise the scariest parts are the bits as normal as sliced bread
AP:Associated Press

We’re terrified long before we realise the scariest parts are the bits as normal as sliced bread[/caption]

This is two hours of metaphor and allegory but its themes are mirror images, the worst versions of ourselves, immigration and asylum — and just about everything wrong with the world in 2019.

Some of it is bleeding (literally) obvious and some only creeps up on you days later while watching the TV news. It looks like Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun video mixed with a Cosplay wet dream.

The music is AWESOME — from Les Fleurs, to Beach Boys, to NWA — and it is, despite it’s theme, incredibly funny.

Get Out turned an unsettling spotlight on racism.

With his latest movie, Peele has created the first conscientious horror genre.

We’re terrified long before we realise the scariest parts are the bits as normal as sliced bread.

Peele uses this quote in the film and it may well be his manifesto: “I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.” — Jeremiah 11:11.


Us 116 mins (15)

★★★★★


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