“US,” released on March 22, is the second film from comedian and director Jordan Peele, who received massive praise for his first film, “Get Out” which showed a new take on the horror genre through an African-American perspective.
The film follows Adelaide Thomas (Lupita Nyong’o) on a family vacation with her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason (Evan Alex). The vacation, however, suddenly turns into a fight for survival when they are met by their murderous, red-jumpsuit wearing dopplegangers.
The film excels at keeping tension high. In true Peele fashion, the film is able to maintain suspense throughout, every so often letting the audience have a brief cathartic release, before making them ball up in anticipation once again.
The performances are done notably well, especially from both main child actors, as children haven’t had the best record when it comes to solid performances.
While this film provides a fun, horror based adventure for the audience, it is also packed with hidden messages and stark symbolism. The internet is already rampant with theories regarding every aspect of the film, which is not surprising considering Peele’s reputation for cinematic social and philosophical commentary.
Although marketed as a horror movie, the film itself had more of a thriller feel, relying more on the clever tension and the audience’s connection with the characters rather than gore and jump scares.
Peele was also able to effortlessly weave in comedy throughout the piece, and he does so extremely effectively. One thing to worry about when watching a film that relies heavily on suspense is that the use of comedy might throw off the tension or not make contextual sense. Yet Peele uses these great comedic moments to get the audience really engaged with the characters and the story.
“US” is a huge success for Peele and a great edition to his filmography. It is a must see for any horror fan and can even be captivating to those who might not be as comfortable with the horror genre.
With a great family centered story, strategic tension and solid character moments, “US” stands out as one of the best films so far of 2019.