By Brennan Atkins
Asst. Arts & Features Editor
By Noah Barnes
Back in 2017, Jordan Peele blew audiences away with his directorial debut, “Get Out,” going as far as winning best original screenplay that year.
Now, Peele delivers yet another horror film and shows that he is much more than a one trick pony.
“Us,” directed by Jordan Peele, is a horror-thriller film featuring Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide/Red, Winston Duke as Gabe/Abraham, Evan Alex as Jason/Pluto and Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora/Umbrae.
The Wilson family decides to go on a vacation to Santa Cruz, which for most is a place of serenity and sun-filled fun, but for Adelaide Wilson, it is the source of a lifelong fear. As a child, she wandered off from the aforementioned pier into a funhouse of mirrors, where she was attacked by a carbon copy of herself. Adelaide was never able to rationalize what she saw that day.
She hasn’t been the same since.
Nyong’o performs what may be her best role to date. Not only does she play two roles in the film, but she also pulls off these dramatically different characters flawlessly. Red is the “evil” version of Adelaide, and her monologues are some of the most memorable moments in the film.
Duke as Gabe acts as a much-needed comic relief at points in the film. Our favorite quote in the film has to be, “If you wanna get crazy! We can get crazy,” when confronting the mysterious family for the first time while brandishing nothing but a baseball bat.
The writing in the film is nearly bulletproof, and it seems as if Peele really thought about everything – and for such an elaborate narrative that is an incredible feat. Audiences will find themselves thinking about the story and how all the details fit in rather than an overarching message or theme, but there’s certainly still one there.
It’s like a violent Scooby-Doo with the audience trying to figure out what is happening throughout the runtime of the film.
The soundtrack mostly revolves around hip-hop, and the inclusion of the Beach Boys and N.W.A made for some interesting and fun scenes. There’s a remix the song, “I got 5 on it,” by Luniz, a song about getting crossfaded, and they somehow turn it into a creepy, slow tune.
The original song “Anthem,” written by Michael Abels, features a fairly simple instrumental accompanied with a children’s choir. There’s a sort of juxtaposition in having children sing over such horrific scenes.
However, the movie isn’t without its flaws.
The first and third act of the film is where the concepts really shine, and offer the most thought. The second act is a bit more focused on the action, and this seemed to slow the film down a bit.
This isn’t to say that they were bad scenes, but comparatively, they were uninteresting.
There are also a couple of odd editing choices throughout, which for the most part were bearable – but nonetheless distracting.
The ending of the movie is a hit or miss, as we seemed to love it but the guy next to us said – “Well, that was garbage.” It’s a fairly dramatic reveal, so it’s no wonder that one may have a strong feeling one way or the other.
Jordan Peele has established himself as among the best contemporary horror directors in cinema.