Us ★★★★★


We all thought that M.Night Shyamalan was the next Alfred Hitchock, but really it was Jordan Peele the whole time. The one-time part of a comedy duo-turned horror auteur had done more than simply make his mark in the genre with his last (and first) piece Get Out, with its Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay, and a landmark lead performance. But with Peele's newest film Us, we get a much more sinister look into his twisted mind in what may be his best film yet, although I'm certain not as many will hold that sentiment with me.

To begin, Us is a supreme commentary on trauma, and its lasting impression on our lives and those around us. Much like the way Jennifer Kent's The Babadook handled a dual personification of addiction and mental instability, Us shows just how deep unchecked traumatic stress can affect each and every one of us. There is a powerful monster- a demon even- within each and every one of us, fighting to take over and control our lives. It can wreak the worst havoc on the weakest of wills, sometimes even causing irreparable damage to the psyche that can affect each and every person around us. It's a commentary that reaches beyond the sociopolitical allegory that Peele achieved with Get Out and attains a message of universality that should place it among the best of the modern horror genre.

It's not as funny as Get Out, but that's not to say that Us is without its moments of relief. Peele, a comedian at heart, knows exactly when and where to place his humor where it appropriately coincides with its jolting moments of terror. It's a far darker piece of horror than Get Out was, taking place over one tumultuous night of violence that just continuously amps up its intensity until the nerves are completely shot to oblivion. Lupita Nyong'o gives a mind shattering performance that I could only wish I could properly give accolade to- if you thought Daniel Kaluuya was good, you haven't seen anything yet. This is a groundbreaking character performance that surpasses the classic status that Peele's protagonist in Get Out already achieved, yet I'm certain that the latter will be far more fondly remembered (as will the entire film), but that's neither here nor there. Peele has found his own voice in genre filmmaking that deserves to be heard, and it's one I really hope we get to hear more and more from as the years progress.

Us is one of the best horror films of the year, the decade- perhaps even among the greatest this century has offered so far. It's so surreal and idiosyncratic, drenching in Peele's own style and substance that we already came to expect from his first film, yet somehow maturing and evolving that writing and storytelling into a format beyond anything I could have ever wanted. Peele has proven himself as a master at his craft, creating tales of terror that can each stand on their own without an inclination that each film is just repeating the same style and story over and over again. Jordan Peele is one of those directors who people will be on edge to find out what their next big project is, and if Us is any indication of even a fraction of his potential, then I'd say that it's safe to say that he really is deserving of the title as the next great storyteller, perhaps even the greatest, of this generation.

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