Graham Williamson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Reviewed on Cinema Eclectica.
Also 52 horror film challenge 10/52.
No. 4: A horror released in 2019.
"When you get back on a Saturday night
And the room is caving in
Do you look like me
Do you feel like me
Do you turn into your effigy?"
- Gorillaz, 'Tranz'
Jordan Peele's follow-up to Get Out, a horror film so good even the Oscars had to admit it was great, takes the earlier film's strengths and turns up the contrast, pumps them full of steroids, whatever your metaphor, it does it. It even adds some new assets. Get Out was nominally set in New York but it was really Blumhouseville, USA: the kind of standard horror setting that made its unexpected depth and originality land harder. Us is very specifically set in a picturesque Santa Cruz holiday resort, whose sheer unlikeliness as a horror setting is part of the fun; you wonder how a place like this could become claustrophobic and oppressive, then Peele shows you.
Peele is, as ever, in a conversation with his genre's history. If Get Out was influenced by Ira Levin - The Stepford Whites, as more than one wag dubbed it - this is definitely his George A Romero movie. But it's never just imitation. There is a keen eye on how this era is unique, most notably in the way that Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o)'s family are so quick to accept her paranoid speculations about the threat facing them. As the nods to real-life conspiracy theories involving fluoride and 11:11 remind us, everyone's paranoid nowadays.
Also, I'm half-convinced Peele is deliberately trolling some of the internet's shit take addicts with certain aspects of this film. If you think "How does Edward Scissorhands get dressed?" is a devastating critical killshot, you won't like this at all. Good. You don't deserve it.