Us ★★★★

Jordan Peele is a fantastic director.

He’s not a very good 'horror' director.

Let me explain.

As you probably know, Jordan Peele's directorial debut 'Get Out' was fantastic. It's one of the most unique & original films I've ever seen. However, easily the worst parts of Get Out are the horror aspects. The film never scared me, if anything the attempts at horror (the running scene in particular) were laughable. Thankfully, the rest of Get Out is so good and its ideas & themes are so strong, we can give those scenes a pass. So when it came to Jordan Peele's follow-up 'Us', I was extremely intrigued to see what he was going to do with a 'straight-up horror' film.

It crushes me to say that Us is not scary in the slightest. The films attempts at being scary & tense fall completely flat and I'm not completely sure why this is. It may be that Peele's attempts at scares & jump-scares are too obviously set-up. I think one of the biggest reasons is that when Peele does have a good scare set up (i.e someone hiding around a corner, someone hiding behind a car) he decides to reveal the scare to the audience in the least frightening way possible, usually a slow pan, which allows the audience to expect the scare.

The first half of Us felt like a straight-up horror movie and not a very good one. However, the second half of Us is fantastic. Just like Get Out, its very easy to see that Jordan Peele clearly has a lot that he wants to say and that message doesn't fully come across until the second half of the film. Without going into specifics, Peele manages to cover a plethora of themes, including class, race, redlining, becoming a product of your circumstances & environment and America's dark past. Peele clearly had a lot big & bold ideas here which could’ve easily have been too much for some but thankfully, I was all in with them.

Although the film did take a while to win me over, I fell in love with cast immediately. The child actors, Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph are sublime, especially when you consider the difficulty of their roles. Even Madison Curry shines in the small role she has. Winston Duke, the highlight of Black Panther, is fantastic once again and nearly steals the show. However, this show didn’t belong to him, this show belonged to the goddess; Lupita Nyong'o. I'm not exaggerating when I say she honestly gives one of the best performances I've ever seen; save everyone's time and just give her the Oscar now. Her voice, her eyes, her body language, everything was just perfect.

Although I wasn't scared or horrified by Us like I was hoping, I left the film with a lot on my mind and a lot to say which is always a good thing. I think Jordan Peele is a fantastic one-of-a-kind director with a lot of fascinating & bold stories to tell but I don't think he uses the genre of horror to its full potential. A lot of Us is extremely ambiguous but there is also a lot (and I mean a lot) of plot holes. Despite all this, Us is an enjoyable thought-provoking and most importantly ORIGINAL film that I intend to re-watch as soon as possible.

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