Horror movie “Us” offers more than thrills and chills

Jordan Peele’s second film proves he is more than a one-hit wonder

Kolby Spomer
Staff Writer

When “Get Out” released, I initially was a little underwhelmed. I thought the movie was good, but I didn’t believe that it deserved its perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes or its near universal appointment as the best horror movie of the last 20 years.      

Over the next 6 months, I’ve watched the movie at least 10 more times and I can confidently say that I was wrong and “Get Out” is one of the best horror movies ever released, let alone in the past 20 years. The way Peele wraps a thrilling and entertaining horror plot around the sub-text of cultural appropriation is something any horror film worth its salt should strive to mimic. It’s safe to say that I was very excited to see his newest film, “Us”. 

Apparently I wasn’t alone, as the film made a whopping $70 million on its opening weekend, the most for an original film since James Cameron’s “Avatar”. This speaks more to Hollywood’s obsession with sequels and remakes than it does the films quality, but it’s still impressive nonetheless. However, box office success does not always mean a movie is actually good, with recent films like “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom” garnering over $1 billion despite being hot, smelly dumpster fires.

Thankfully this is not the case with “Us”, as I can happily confirm that Peele has crushed it once again. With “Us” he has delivered a film as good, if not better, than his last work. 

The second in a line of “social thrillers” Peele plans on making, “Us” doesn’t shy away from any tough questions, asking its audience to think about themselves and what they would do if presented a chance to rise above their lot in life. I won’t go any further into the “real” message of the movie, as it may cheapen it for some, but just know that this movie has a message along the same lines as the one presented in his last film.

While a thoughtful message is great and all, if it’s delivered in a garbage can nobody is going to care about it. The film is amazing all around. The plot beats along nicely, maintaining a consistent pace throughout. The acting is superb, with lead Lupita Nyongo delivering a performance that should garner her another Oscar nomination. 

Most importantly, the direction in the film is phenomenal, as Peele achieves a near Hitchcock-level of audience control, keeping you exactly where he wants you the whole time. That being namely on the edge of your seat.

All that being said, the film isn’t without its flaws. The writing feels a tad awkward at parts, mostly in the lighter scenes. Peele’s comedy background proves he is a funny guy, and there are funny lines found in the movie. Some of the lines feel forced though, and the film may have been a tad stronger with less humor. 

Despite this small misstep, the film is easily the best I have seen this year and deserves the heaps of praise it has already received. I can definitely see myself rewatching this one for a long, long time.

Header photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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