Us

Us ★★★

Each time I watch Us, I understand it a little bit more and like it a little bit less. Perhaps its biggest weakness is the sense that you'd get a lot more out of it if you remembered the Hands Across America event of 1986, which I'd never even heard of before this film came out. It would be a bit like me making a horror movie where it turns out the monsters are motivated by, or at least doing something vaguely related to, series two of Richard Stilgoe's children's quiz show Finders Keepers, if series two of Finders Keepers meant as much to me as Hands Across America evidently does to Jordan Peele. Could it be that Get Out was such a huge success that Peele was allowed to do an even more personal project, even though something that was freaky to him when he was 7 doesn't have any resonance with almost anyone else? (I'm not saying I found Finders Keepers freaky when I was 7, but Richard Stilgoe was definitely a little bit too creepy to be a children's TV presenter.)

Us's strengths are its set-pieces, but even then I'm not keen on the way that the horror of home invasion is tempered by jokes and wisecracks. I like my home invasion movies to be truly terrifying. It's also got the worst split diopter shot I've ever seen, and one that obviously isn't a real split diopter shot anyway, but a really bad digital approximation of one. And I still don't get how the final twist is supposed to make any sense in the light of Red's lengthy explanation while that distractingly shit shot is on screen. And the film as a whole is about half an hour too long.

I think it's Difficult Second Album Syndrome. Get Out is so tight, but Us is kind of floppy. I guess Peele had to make another movie based around a social engineering conspiracy theory, but this one isn't grounded in any sort of reality, unless he's saying that Hands Across America was something something something the elite. What? Ah fuck, I still don't get it.

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