Ben’s review published on Letterboxd:
Us is further evidence, if any were ever needed, that funny people can be terrifying. Maybe it's the understanding of drama and emotional beats that's necessary for comedy-timing, but Jordan Peele again brings an idea to the table that feels fresher and more interesting than expected, both in its details and in its execution.
'Get Out' worked so well because of the constant wrong-footing, mixed with a sense that something was seriously wrong, while giving us moments of light comedy amidst genuine unsettling fear. 'Us' has a very similar tone, but feels like its own complete world. To go into the plot too much would be very unfair, since he's a writer who is clearly bursting with interesting ideas, but the very short version is that a family takes a day trip from their vacation home near the beach, and comes home that evening to find themselves seemingly under siege by...themselves. Warped, 'wrong' versions of themselves, like someone holding up a psychosis-riddled mirror.
The actors all deserve enormous credit, as the family pull double-duty playing the 'normal' versions of themselves, and the 'wrong' versions, and there is never a split-second where you could mistake one for the other. Although the costuming helps (the intruders wear sinister red overalls), most of the differences are in the facial expressions and behaviours, and they are richly detailed. As you'd expect from Lupita Nyong'o of 'Black Panther' and '12 Years a Slave' fame, she's captivating. This is just as well, as much of the emotional heavy-lifting and dialogue falls on her shoulders, both as the messed-up and horrified Adelaide, and as the obsessed, chilling 'Red'. Winston Duke is also astonishingly distinct in his roles, playing slightly goofball joker-dad Gabe, but also the dead-eyed, terrifying man-mountain Abraham.
Symbology is everywhere, from the unsettling scissors that the intruders carry, to every little reason for their behaviour, and fun riffs on culture that include a passing comment about the filming of 'some movie' (The Lost Boys) in a flashback.
Frankly the talent on display in terms of everything from production design, to acting, writing and direction is intimidating, and it's a joy to soak into it and be led along.
The film is also inventive with sound - using vocal noises to add unease, and also using sound to add comedy; there's a brilliant 'Alexa-style' gadget joke, and also one of the most intense and atmospheric uses ever of Luniz's dramatic 'I Got 5 On It'.
All I can really add is that this is FAR more than just a 'home invasion thriller'. It has much bigger ambitions, and uses its brilliantly played characters to showcase them. It takes its time, and it absolutely demands rapt attention (or you'll miss one of its many important reveals), but it's well worth your time.