Us

Us ★★½

While I didn't set out to make this a week where I went against the grain on everything it certainly looks like that's what's happened. I pretty much hated Get Out, but some of the promotional material showed promise for Us so I decided to eventually check it out. Sadly, it's zero for two for Jordan Peele with me. I feel Peele has the talent to make a truly great horror flick and he shows he can with a great opening in an amusement park in the 80's and the initial reveal of the villains, but he decides he would rather throw comedy in and social and political messages than stick with it.

I've seen some clips of his work on Key & Peele and thought it was funny, but I can't say any of his humour has worked for me in his first two horror flicks. Breaking the tension he carefully built with a lame and poorly placed joke is the kind of crap I'd expect in a Marvel film, but he does it more than once here. The same goes for his use of music. It's like he saw the pool scene in The Strangers: Prey at Night and decided he wanted to do something similar and does by blaring everybody's favourite N.W.A. track over an intense scene. While I'm sure many thought it was awesome I think it ruined the whole scene.

Several of the issues begin with the family we are stuck with throughout the movie. I'm not sure why they insist on having so many annoying families in horror movies, but this one is particularly irritating. We've got the goofy dad constantly cracking dad jokes, the overprotective mom who is haunted by a past trauma, the idiot son who walks around wearing a mask like he's a future serial killer, and the selfish daughter who ignores the world and just listens to her music. None of these characters are likable and that never changes by the time the credits roll. The kids are obnoxious and treat their parents like trash, not anybody I want to root for.

I love the concept of the characters facing evil versions of themselves, but not much interesting is done with it. Not much stands out about the performances though part of that might be due to the poorly written dialogue, but I must say I'm surprised at the praise Lupita Nyong'o has gotten for her role as I found her to be the goofiest of the four main performances. There is just too much time spent with her evil character speaking in a hilariously silly voice explaining their motives throughout and it seems to go on forever after a while.

At nearly 2 hours there is so much explaining yet most of the messages are left pretty vague when all is said and done. I did have enough interest to read some interpretations online and it probably makes me appreciate Us a bit less. A lot of the violence is off screen and the R rating appears to mostly be due to some strong language. I really like some of this movie and its moderately creepy moments, but they just can't overcome the annoying characters, overlong runtime and overuse of comedy and explanations to make this as good as it could have been.

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