Saturday, 30 March 2019
Us (Movie Review)
Jordan Peele returns to the directors chair with his sophomore effort, Us, a horror film that was released stateside last week but only just made its way to Nigerian shores. The very fact that it is being shown over here is a welcome change, considering the fact that horror movies are rarely ever shown or given top billing at our local cinemas. So it was with equal parts dread and excitement that I had approached the movie, and I am happy to report that it delivered the scares, thrills and twists fans have come to expect.
The movie centers upon Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o), a woman who has spent the better part of her life living in fear and anxiety following an experience she had in a funhouse as a child. She is forced to face her demons, so to speak, when she goes on vacation to her deceased parent's beach house, where the trauma began. She is accompanied by her wise-cracking husband, Gabe (Winston Duke), and their two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex).
At first, everything appears to be going according to plan, with the family trying its best to make the most of their vacation in spite of Adelaide's growing discomfort. Gabe even rents a beat-up motorboat, in a failed effort to oneup his friend and rival, Josh (Tim Heidecker), who is also there vacationing with his wife, Kitty (Elisabeth Moss) and their twin daughters. But things take a dark turn one night when the power goes out and they discover a family of doppelgängers standing in their driveway.
It is almost impossible to talk about Us and the full extent of its brilliance without threading into spoiler territory, but I'll try. The film is anchored by Lupita Nyong'o in the dual roles of Adelaide and Red (her doppelgänger), who gives what is arguably her best performance since her Academy Award winning turn in 12 Years a Slave. It also makes effective use of licensed music, with the Luniz classic, I Got 5 on It, in particular taking on an ominous tone as it is worked into the film's overall score.
The movie is also impeccably shot by Mike Gioulakis, who had also worked on the equally creepy and brilliant horror film, It Follows. And I guess that is the best way to describe Us as a whole, creepy but brilliantly so. It also boasts a twist ending that puts the likes of Glass to shame, one that seems so mind-boggling at first but fits perfectly into the overall narrative once you've given it a fair amount of thought. And it is all these things that come together to make it one of the best movies that has graced cinemas this year and every bit a worthy follow-up to Get Out.