An unusual combination of horror, black comedy and psychological drama, “Us” justified the expectations of the audience as well as the critics.
After shocking contemporary art with his directorial debut, “Get Out”, and setting new standards in provocation with socially-aware horror films, Oscar winner Jordan Peele returns with another original horror story, a film for that he wrote screenplay also direction and production..
In this movie, Peele has managed to portray “Us” as a real, mature and above all creepy psychological horror. There is some jump scare, some dark room, some creepy noise, but the focus is not on them. Not even close. What “Us” manages to do is to build an atmosphere of fear from virtually nothing (you know that something doesn’t work even when you are on a beach full of people in broad daylight) and maintain it to the very end with a pure psychology of fear.
Visuals and acoustic elements are an addition, but the point of this movie is to get under your skin and create a feeling of anxiety from the inside out, and in that the film is absolutely brilliant. The moment when the movie grabs you, it won’t release you until the very end, and probably not for a while after watching it. Actor interpretations (especially Lupita Nyong’o and children) also contribute significantly to this aspect of the film, whose terrified and deformed facial expressions are something that characterize this film.
The movie walks us through the two time zones of Adelaide Wilson’s life. In the late 1980s, as a girl, she was marked by lifelong trauma after seeing a reflection of a girl who looked like her in an amusement park in the mirror room. She lost her voice and spent her earliest childhood re-developing social contacts and speaking skills. Adelaide is now a mother of two, a daughter and a son, a bit withdrawn, introverted and above all paranoid because she fears that a girl from the mirror will come for her.
Holidays with her family at her late parents’ home in Santa Cruz brought back ugly memories. An afternoon of family fun on the beach near the same amusement park that Adelaide provided trauma for the rest of his life will expel all the demons of the past and bring the poor woman to the brink of madness after her son disappears from sight for a few minutes.
It may be all her paranoia, but returning home will deny her imaginary madness when another family appears on the doorstep of the Wilson family, which is their replica, a twisted replica.
You guessed it, there is no place for them on Earth. Who will survive?
From the very beginning of the film, we see that Adelaide is haunted by unexplained and unclear trauma from her past, which soon reaches a level of paranoia. She becomes more and more certain that something bad will happen to her family as she witnesses too many coincidences to be a coincidence and raises alarms.
Through centuries of mythology and artwork, encountering a person who is incredibly similar to you and not your gender is a bad sign. Somewhere it is seen as a paranormal phenomenon, some equate it to an evil twin. Adelaide grows up with the feeling that her evil twin is following her, waiting for the right moment to reappear. The place of their first meeting seems like an ideal location.
Much of the action can be described as a slightly extended chase, as family members split up and chase after their two counterparts, who mostly represent their imitation with scissors. The climax of events gives us an ambitious explanation for the whole chase, and the ending itself leaves room for viewing the events from another perspective, which, when thought over a little, does not make too much sense. The author threw in a few ideas, but immediately rejected them because the film was nearing its end.
The script is enriched by some comic scenes. Skipping from horror to humor is not wrong, on the contrary – it temporarily relieves us of tension and helps us break through the sense of helplessness of our protagonists. We can say that Peele is not afraid to admit to us that the logic of the plot is absurd enough to make us laugh, too.
The technical aspects are, for one comedian like Peele, unexpectedly flawless. The set design is well-chosen, especially in the contrasting part between “the world” and “the underworld”, but also in the context of beautifully arranged recording locations, such as one of the tunnels at the very end. The costume selection of red work suits proved to be a good choice, while the shooting offered some very interesting shots (such as the silhouette of the “red family” from the beginning of the movie or the combined dialogue between Adelaide and her evil twin).
What is, however, special is the original music of Michel Abels, which, like the film itself, was a unique experience. Trying to provoke anger in you as a viewer, the film offers a musically innovative experience reminiscent of modernism, expressionism and dodecaphony.
With a dose of (black) humor and an extraordinary atmosphere, the film creates a truly creepy setting that will creep into your skin and create tangible anxiety while waiting for the screen to wait for the action to continue. Ultimately incredibly powerful and original, Us is a unique movie experience that you must experience and can now declare, without any dilemma, one of the films to mark this year.
Sometimes scary and sometimes funny, “Us” has managed to replicate the quirky and strange formula of Peel’s debut Get Out, leaving it original and innovative. Achieving a combination of horror, drama and humor that will not offend viewer intelligence is not an easy job, but Peele successfully balances all the elements.