Ben Challoner’s review published on Letterboxd:
The trailer for Us genuinely creeped me out and that very rarely actually happens! As the hype train for this film has been steaming through my brain for a while now I was exceptionally excited to see this last night. I'm very happy to say I wasn't disappointed!
There are no spoilers in this review! I won't even discuss the story!
Whilst this is a step forward from Get Out for Jordan Peele, both in terms of size of production and scope of ideas, it does share one innate quality with his debut and that is the fact that the film is far more satirical and clever than it is actually scary! That is no bad thing in my book.
The film LOOKS incredible! It gave me the 80s vibes of Tobe Hooper's 'The Funhouse' whilst regularly tickling my 'Nightmare on Elm St' bone and spraying the walls with a bit of New French Extremism like Pascal Laugier's 'Martyrs'. The camerawork is confident, the framing is suggestive, the colourisation is exceptionally memorable. It is just a really stunning film to watch!
The film SOUNDS incredible! The score is all violent strings and haunting chants and gasps. Michael Abels did a great job filling this feature with jumpy dread. The occasional times it actually uses cues from pop songs (I've got 5 on it in particular) it gave me goosebumps. The diegetic jukebox soundtrack is so damn good it is almost too good! Without question the greatest use of The Beach Boys 'Good Vibrations' in the history of cinema!
The film FEELS incredible! It wears so many genre influences on its sleeve but it feels unique and special. That's the sign of a great director and I really see Peele as an auteur now after two very bold and different takes on the horror genre. Its stuffed to the rafters with references and I loved seeking them all out! I can't wait to see it again soon because I know there's so much more to enjoy than what I would have noticed this time around!
The performances are incredible too! Lupita Nyong'o steals the show with her dual look at this traumatised young woman. She's created a character that won't soon be forgotten. Winston Duke is the comic relief for sure but he plays it really damn well! I loved what he did with the role. Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex as the kids both do a fantastic job of showing terror and strength in equal measure and I can see both of them going on to huge things after this. The support from Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker is spot on pitch perfect as well! An addition to the cast list that wouldn't seem necessary at first but in retrospect is incredibly important for the film as a whole!
As you can see, I loved this film! I won't give it 5 stars just yet as I need to see it at least one more time to soak up all the things I missed but this is a really strong sophomore film for Jordan Peele and i'm so pumped to see where he goes from here! Monkey Paw Productions is producing Candyman next and it couldn't be in safer hands!