Us

Us ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

With Get Out and Us, Peale has proven himself as a writer/director who can build tension, stage action, and create believable characters in unbelievable situations. I also really enjoy the scifi elements to his stories.

And while the horror side of this movie really works for me, what doesn't is the backstory explanation of who the shadow people are and where they come from. I would have preferred NO explanation and just have it be this fucked up mystery, like a reckoning for the human race.

As it is, there are far too many nagging questions at the end. For the record, I don't mind questions (I'm one of those people who loved the end of The Sopranos), but here it feels like the questions exist because the writer didn't think through the story well enough (cough, Lost, cough). Things like:

Who gave them all the matching clothes (before the red jumpsuits)?
Did they have entire wardrobes filled with the same clothes their doubles above owned?
How were they all fed? (Their existence essentially doubles the population of the earth -- or at least the U.S. -- and we can't feed everyone as it is. Is that why?) Do starving communities in Africa have shadow communities underground filled with starving doubles?
Why didn't the water and power companies notice all the resources being siphoned off for the shadow communities? And who paid for it all?
Were there shadow communities under every city?
Where did they get all the red jumpsuits and scissors?
If their plan was to murder all their doubles, who would be left to see their "hands across America" chain?
How were the children created? Did the shadows have sex? If so, are all the individual sperm tethered to their doubles (because that's some crazy odds to produced the exact same kids)?
I didn't see any babies in red onesies; did the shadow people stop having sex at some point? Why?
If Adelaide was the shadow the whole time, did she know it while she was growing up underground or did she forget?
If she knew it, I could understand wanting to murder the person who took her place, but why lead a revolution and murder everyone else?
Why couldn't any of the other shadow people learn to talk?

I could go on but you get the point. I know, I know. Suspension of disbelief, right? But there's always a line. And that's what great storytellers understand. Too many moments of "wait a minute, what about...?" and you risk losing your audience. Fortunately, Peale didn't lose me until very close to the end. He holds back his explanation long enough that I enjoyed the experience for the most part. I just wish he held back more, so I could have enjoyed it more.

Is Peale a great storyteller? Time will tell. Last year I would have bet yes. Now I'm wondering if he's got a bad case of Shyamalan.

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