If you are looking for a truly creepy experience, then Jordan Peele’s “Us” should be next on your list to see. The trailers led me to believe it would be frightening, and while it was unsettling, I did not find it all that scary. While there were some intense and semi-scary moments, there were also a fair few lulls and the frightening parts definitely didn’t stick with me as much as I thought they would.
The film focuses on Adelaide Wilson, a wife and mother haunted by a disturbing experience she had as a child when she wandered away from her family at a carnival. Years later as an adult, Adelaide returns to her childhood home with her husband, daughter and son and immediately gets a feeling that something must be wrong. Her worst fears come true when a family that looks just like hers comes to their home and terrorizes them.
From the start of the movie, it is obvious that “Us” was impeccably cast. Not only did the actors do a great job as a family fighting for their lives, they all gave extremely unsettling performances as the doppelgänger family. While I wasn’t exactly scared, I was very disturbed by the look-alikes movements, noises and overall appearance. Lupita Nyong’o’s performance as a mother who would do anything to save her family and as Red, the look-alike, was the most impressive of them all. She gave it her all and really carried the movie.
It was not up to the actors alone to carry the movie, however, because the characters and script as a whole was very well written. The family dynamic portrayed onscreen felt very real. They had great chemistry and, aside from being chased by homicidal maniacs, a lot of their interactions reminded me of interactions I’d seen in real life.
The plot itself was very interesting and not something I would have ever expected to see. Not only did the doppelgängers make for an exciting plot device, but “Us” had twists and surprises. Like Peele’s previous film, “Get Out,” “Us” was filled with symbolism that left me and my friends thinking about the movie hours after it ended.
With that being said, I was still a little disappointed as I predicted most of the twists at some point in the movie and was bothered by some small holes in the plot. The use of humor was very refreshing in a horror film and eased some of the tension. I loved it, but I think the humor was overdone and took away from the scary elements, which hurt the film. On occasion the laughs landed better than the scares, and that’s part of the reason I don’t think it lived up to the horror presented in the trailer. Nevertheless, it was still very enjoyable, creepy and Peele effectively gets the point across that sometimes the most feared aspects of the dreaded ‘them’ are reflections of the darkest parts of us.