“‘US‘ is a true masterpiece in horror.”
The horror genre is something sacred and entertaining. It can be whatever you’d like it to be from something of a masked killer on the loose slashing their way through unsuspecting teenage victims to a literal hell unleashing in space to something much more quiet and unnerving like family being torn apart by a demonic entity and everything in between. Jordan Peele has crafted his own horror universe and elements and is 2/2 (so far) in drilling the nail into that horror membrane with precision and accuracy. His latest film simply titled ‘US‘ is much more than a straight out horror film, but something that makes us think about our past, present and ultimate future with each other. I’m happy to say that ‘US‘ is a true masterpiece in horror.
With Peele’s first feature film ‘Get Out‘, we got a glimpse into his complex mind and filmmaking techniques with a seeming romantic comedy that turned into a horror/thriller of epic proportions that satirized our current silly state of politics and social expectations. Needless to say, ‘Get Out‘ and Peele won numerous awards including an Oscar (well-deserved).
‘US‘ takes things a step further into the horror genre and we see what Peele can do and play with in this beloved horror landscape as he conjures up some of the scariest moments of recent memory in motion pictures. This is a down-the-line horror film at every turn, but Peele slices his way through more of our current political and social climate that causes us to question our very existence and choices. And holy shit is it frightening.
With no spoilers attached here, the film follows the Wilson family, led by the father Gabe (Winston Duke), the mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), the daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and the son Jason (Evan Alex), who all head to their summer vacation spot in Santa Cruz. Even their friends the Tylers (Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker and their two teenage daughters) are vacationing a couple doors down as well. All seems quiet, nice, and simple, but in a flashback sequence to when Adelaide was a young girl, she had a terrifying experience at the same beach inside a hall of mirrors funhouse.
Now Adelaide is a grownup mother of two, is back in the same spot where Peele pours the sense of dread and horror so thick that we anticipate any minute something terrible is going to happen. Things go from bad to worse where (as we see in the trailer for the film), a family dressed all in red shows up at the Wilson’s house, which are all the doppelgängers for the Wilsons, but are brandishing gold, sharp scissors with the intent on using them to kill.
From here, Peele makes us literally sweat through our clothes and forces us to the edge of our seats with the terror these characters push out with some truly scary scenarios. It’s been a long time where I had to catch my breath watching a horror film, but here, I did quite a bit and I loved every single minute of it. Not only were the scares earned and top notch, but the dialogue was real, at times funny, and intelligent. While not standing on top of a box and preaching a message, Peele tells everything he wants to get across in such a subtle way that if you blink, you’ll miss it and that is extremely difficult to do. Peele does it with ease here.
Each of the Wilsons are basically playing two roles here, one of their true version and the other of their doppelgänger, which is quite a feat, but the real spotlight is on Lupita Nyong’o who just murders each scene she is in (all the pun intended). There are some great performances in horror films of the past 50 years. Linda Blair in ‘The Exorcist‘, Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining‘, and Tim Curry in ‘IT‘. You can add Lupita Nyong’o to this list as she deserves all the awards for her dual performance here. She is that good and owns every piece of film she is in with ‘US‘. She is truly terrifying when she needs to be and is as magical and warm as a mother the next second on a dime. It’s unbelievably good.
The music of the film will have you dreaming of nightmares with The Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations‘ and a new remix of ‘I Got 5 On It‘ that will send shivers up your spine. I can’t get those songs out of my head at the moment and I love that fact that now I think of horror when I hear these songs. Thanks Jordan Peele. ‘US‘ is the horror movie we’ve been waiting for, so do yourself a favor and get your ass up and watch it before it’s too late.
Written by: Bryan Kluger