Wes Craven, John Carpenter, James Wan, Alfred Hitchcock, George Romero, David Cronenberg……Jordan Peele. After only two horror/thriller films, you can already add Peele’s name to the list of famous directors of the genre that will stand the test of time. US is a near-perfect horror masterpiece. Better than Get Out, in my opinion. It’s perfectly paced. It’s scary as fuck. It has humor at the perfect moments (no unintentional laughter like Hereditary). It has a thought provoking message. It’s a film that will resonate with you long after you leave the theater. It gives you just enough context clues to figure out and put together in your head what is really going on without it being explained to you for 20 minutes. It has scenes and moments set up at the beginning of the film and the rest of the movie is nothing but great pay off, after great pay off, after great pay off. And if you are arguing why Peele’s name should already be added to the list I mentioned above, do I need to remind you who has actually won an Oscar?
The less you know going into US, the more I think you will enjoy it. So if you are reading this non spoiler-y review before you see it….stop. I already complemented it in my beginning paragraph, that should be enough to kick you over if you are still on the fence. But if you have seen it, and didn’t too much care for it, I encourage you to keep reading to understand why I loved it, and perhaps why I looked into the film more deeply than Jordan Peele probably intended for me to. Because the film plays it almost straight forward until the last act. You know where Jordan Peele basically shined that social commentary through your eyes throughout the whole run time of Get Out? (some of you had a problem with that, I don’t know why) Well in this, he saves it for the last act of the film, making you want to re watch the thing through a whole different point of view. That’s how brilliant this movie is. And while yes, there is a twist, and one that I saw coming a billion miles away (yet still enjoyed it because its payoff was set up almost perfectly well), that twist doesn’t just rely on itself to make the movie. Everything else around it makes you question your loyalty as a viewer, and makes you take a deep breath and try to put the puzzle pieces together.
I’m not going to explain the plot. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know its a family on vacation that gets home invaded by people that look exactly like them (dopplegangers). Obviously, there’s a little more too it, but that is better experienced in the theater. But I encourage you to watch closely. Usually I say twists work best if you aren’t thinking too hard, but with this film, I encourage you to watch carefully from the beginning, so that you understand most of what is going on. You’ll see the twist coming but so what? You need to understand the messages more. What does it mean to have a soul? What does it mean to be human? These messages have been told time and again in countless movies, but this one does it so uniquely you’ll think the idea is wholly original again. It’s quite brilliant, and I have a feeling the more I re watch this film, the more I’m going to love it. It literally has everything a horror/thriller fan could want in a movie.
It’s too early in the year to really predict this, but I say give a nomination to Lupita Nyong’o at next years Academy Awards. She obviously plays dual roles due to the doppleganger plot, but she plays them so distinctively well that she might’ve pulled off one of the greatest horror performances of all time. She is THAT FUCKING GOOD in it. I know she has already won a supporting actress Oscar for 12 Years A Slave, but this performance is about a billion times better than that one that I wouldn’t mind her winning another award. Everybody else is good too. Her children have some of the best horror acting you could ask for. Her husband played by Black Panther’s Winston Duke is good and brings the perfect amount of comic relief you are needing with a film like this. And even Elizabeth Moss gets a small yet juicy part. The acting is there, the thrills are there, the scares are there, the camera work is there, the cinematography is there, the direction is there. It is near perfect. Oh forgot to mention the use of music. Brilliant, especially in the “final fight” scene. The new rendition of “I’ve Got Five On It” will be stuck in my brain for weeks.
My one complaint from the whole film being perfect? I thought that one of the doppleganger’s monologue at the end explained a little too much of what was going on. Half way through her short speech I was sinking in my chair praying, “Please stop talking…” The film had already given me a bunch of context clues to piece together what was happening. I didn’t need an explanation trying to make things a bit clearer. Thankfully, the monologue didn’t last long, and I breathed out a sigh of relief, knowing that I could still piece together what happened after I left the theater (which I have). If you are one of those people that needs everything handed to you on a silver platter explanation wise, this movie isn’t for you. If you like piecing together shit with ambigious context clues, this movie is an awesome mind trip. I can’t believe Jordan Peele has done it again. And to think he said that he is going to stick to the horror genre for the time being. That should excite us.