**** out of five stars
Writer-director Jordan Peele’s eagerly-awaited follow-up to his hit Get Out returns to the world of societal horror, but with some new twists.
One fateful summer, the Wilson family heads off to their beach house in Santa Cruz. All seems ordinary at first, but things soon take a turn for the bizarre. At night, the family is invaded by a mysterious group of people clad in red. The intruders turn out to be twisted, murderous doubles (or doppelgängers) of the family members. This particularly horrifies the matriarch of the Wilsons, Adelaide (played by Lupita Nyong’o), who remembers seeing her double in the same town as a child years ago.
It soon becomes clear that there are doppelgängers of many more people lurking around, and these shadowy duplicates have a grander plan, but the details of it seem unclear at first. Can the Wilsons save the world, or at least escape with their lives intact?
Us proves to be a rather different beast than Get Out. Whereas Get Out’s story was rooted around contemporary race relations, Us deals with the more universal theme of identity. Us is also a more straightforward horror tale compared to Get Out, which combined horror with satirical sensibilities.
Us is a great invasion movie. It makes the audience feel like they are accompanying the Wilsons on their journey to outlast the doppelgängers. And the doubles are truly creepy movie monsters, bearing the tenacity of the walking dead but also an unexpected intelligence and a mental link to their counterparts.
One weakness of the film is that although the doppelgängers are meant to be evil twins to the Wilson family, not all of them are given enough development to show how they compare or contrast with their counterparts. I also personally felt that Red’s croaking voice, while meant to be creepy and unsettling, came off as somewhat annoying.
Us is a worthy successor to Get Out and proves that Jordan Peele is no one-trick pony when it comes to horror movies. It’s a first-rate thriller, and you certainly won’t be left seeing red.