Us ★★★

I've notice some comparisions between Us and Parasite which I don't think very useful outside of pointing out they are polar opposite allegories on class, Bong's film main limitation is that it is far too tight whil Peele's that it all over the place with incoherent meanings superimposed over each other (also opposites: as a typical mainstream American film Us sees class through a clear middle-class framework while Parasite turns the middle-class that its main audience into a structural absence). Indeed, I was mostly reminded of a very different Asian class warfare horror Soi Cheang's Home Sweet Home with Shu Qi affluent middle uper class housewife needing to fight for her son with Karena Lam ghost of urban renewal. Mostly because in both cases what is good about them is how the social malaise is written into the thriller mechanics and not above it. If Us can feel frustrating it is because it suffers from a serious case of second film anxiety, at its most revealing the more it seems to struggle to fullfil Get Out's "promise", something that is both touching and maddening. At its very worst, it is the most embarassing self-important of "elevated horror" films, but unlike let's say A Quiet Place, Us is the work of talent people that manages to fill the empty canvas with a lot of lively behavior, multiple alternatives and some genuine pleasures at even basic jump scares. Peele has become a more controled filmmaker between movies: the thriller mechanics are more engrossing, the acting stronger (Winston Duke, in particular, is great here), the jokes more subtle integrated. At its best, Us allows the horror mechanics work on the social relevance and not the other way around. I enjoy how the initial home invasion scenario is open up and allowed to just go places even as Peele far more and more ways to riff on his doubling ideas. The disquiet here does come with strong sense of thrill ride at least until things collapse in the more internal third act that suffers from overexplanation. In some ways, Us functions as reminder about how hard it is for mainstream Hollywood to confront class, it is most transparent detail is that it takes place during vacation time, god forbids, work has anything to do with it.

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