Acting as Jordan Peele's Sophmore feature after his Academy Award Winning hit Get Out, Us follows a family who is staying in Santa Cruz for the summer when all of a sudden they are attacked by a group of 4 people who look exactly like them, something the mother already had a small traumatizing experience with back when she was a child. Despite not being the biggest fan of most horror films I was a huge fan of Get Out and was so excited to see where Jordan Peele would go from there now that he had so much support behind him. Where I will say Get Out is still easily his #1 film from my perspective, Us still proved to be another overall solid addition in his young filmography.
Once again Jordan Peele is able to masterfully craft this film returning to both the director and writer positions. He has such a clever mind for putting a story together that unravels over time in a way that is engaging and interesting. This is a film that has you constantly thinking and as things are revealed more and more comes together in a way that is unpredictable yet also makes sense and fits with the story so far. Despite claiming that this film was going to be leaning all the way to the horror side just like with Get Out, Peele is able to work in some fantastic comedy that never takes away from the horrors of the plot and were genuinely funny. My entire audience went back and forth between audibly laughing and having a good time to being silent with true fear and awe at what they were seeing. Us also has the third element of badass action that also really connects with the audience, it was really well choreographed and had the audience applauding at multiple points.
The technical side of this film also really stands out. Michael Abels once again returns to compose the score and it is phenomenal, dare I say even better than his work with Get Out. This is a score that has some amazing normal sounding moments yet also is not afraid to get experimental and risky. It has a beautiful flow to this and comes together to create a standout score that will sadly probably not get the attention it deserves come award season. Mike Gioulakis handled the cinematography and he also did a stellar job at this, where I can't say too much of the cinematography is new or too inventive it is still extremely effective and well done. The way he is able to shoot the threats that our main family faces only adds to the terror of the situation, it feels like you are in a haunted house and are just surrounded by horror. He is able to bring a level of subtleness to the visuals in this film and is not afraid to back away if needed for a shot, these are things that plenty of cinematographers are scared to do and to see these techniques done at such a high level is really impressive.
The acting is also fantastic in this film, where Lupita Nyong'o is going to get a ton of hype in the conversation of this film (and trust me she is stellar in this movie) the rest of the cast is also great. Winston Duke gives one of the funniest performances of the year and the kids are also really impressive. Most kid actors have a hard enough time but to have to show true terror is such a hard and complex emotion while also feeling natural, Evan Alex does an amazing job at this and I cannot wait to see where he goes from here. He is able to give his characters so many different sides while all coming together into a single character, we're sure a lot of this is due to Jordan Peele's script it is still so easy to mess up and Evan Alex deserves to be talked about after this movie. Despite having all these positives with the film I cannot say that everything fully worked for me though. Where the script is really solid for what the plot is I can't help but feel like the plot itself is a bit uninteresting. Being as vague as possible to avoid sharing unwanted spoilers I will say that I found where this film goes to be much less interesting than Get Out for example. Where there are plenty of clues leading up to understanding what exactly is going on there is also huge bits left out till the end that would make it impossible to guess what was going on even if you used what you could get from the beginning. I also just find the plot to be uninteresting, the message and situation even after understanding what it is doesn't grab me in a way where I want to go back and rewatch the film time and time again like with Get Out.
Overall I think that Us is still a great showcase for the talent that Jordan Peele has as a director and writer. Yet due to a disappointing plot, I can't call this a masterpiece like I could with his debut film. Instead, it is just a really solid horror film which is nothing bad at all, just because you are not the best does not mean you are nothing. I do highly recommend you check out this movie as it is really well crafted in so many different ways and I fully would be down to see it again with friends or turning it on one night after its home release. I just don't see myself running back to theaters to dissect and breakdown the film.