Us ★★★½

it's clear that jordan peele is phenomenal at: (1) steadily, and almost imperceptibly, amping up the tension throughout his films; (2) finding singular, memorably creepy images that last (think the stirring teacup in Get Out, the scissors and masks here in Us); and (3) threading nearly every scene with visuals that reinforce the motif he's getting across.

Us is no exception. what, at now, differentiates it from Get Out to me is how effective the third point is - whereas in Get Out i felt each scene recontextualized or found a different angle to the point it's making, in Us, the constant doppelgangers, mirrors, shadows, masks, and doubles mostly serve to reinforce the same point: in america, we act like we're constantly suppressing our worst instincts, the darker versions of ourselves, and recently we just might have let them loose. but for most of the runtime, this idea is largely left unexplored.

but maybe for that same reason, it certainly works better as a straight horror movie; the middle third is consistently creepy with a fantastic score, and massive credit to peele for getting great dual performances from the cast - particularly, as expected, lupita, who is so good she could be deserving of a best actress nomination in my opinion. i also may have disrupted my theater a little by laughing too loudly every time tim heidecker opens his mouth.

it ends with an exposition dump that i wasn't particularly fond of but does force the viewer to reconsider what they've seen in an interesting way. and to be fair, while i liked Get Out plenty the first time around, i didn't fully appreciate it until the second. Us could very well work the same.

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