They are us in this smart horror that plays with economic divides in modern society, whilst offering enough shocks and twists to keep die hard horror fans engaged.
Jordan Peele’s debut picture Get Out provided audiences with a brilliantly constructed horror, interwoven with messages on race, slavery and the Afro-America experience. For many directors this would have been hard to follow, but Peele has managed to build on his debut success with Us. Ratcheting up the tension and horror whilst providing a social commentary that truly makes this film something special.
In the vein of great horror directors such as Romeo, Cronenberg and Kubrick, Peele is not afraid to use the horror genre to explore deep social issues, while also giving the audience classic horror constructs.
Focusing on a middle class family holidaying in Santa Cruz, Peele mixes modern day with flashbacks of Reagan’s 1986 America, at the time of the Hands Around America campaign on poverty. The family soon discover that they are not alone in their holiday home, as they are confronted by home invaders, who reflect their own image.
Peele’s commentary on social privilege, the underclass and poverty of opportunity are played out with beautifully, interwoven into the core of the films delivery while allowing the audience to draw its own conclusions. Performances match the high standard of Peele’s vision, providing truly engaging and clever riffs on identity and opportunity. The ability of each actor to shift their performance between opposing versions of themselves is outstanding.
Darkness and light are used to create tension, humour and horror, with a gorgeously rich pallet of colour framed in a beautiful CinemaScope landscape.
There are clear links to classics of the horror genre from Invasion of the Body Snatchers through to The People Under the Stairs and The Omen. All tied together with an innovative script and direction from Peele that makes this film feel fresh and different. This is a bigger film than Peele’s debut Get Out, and therefore feels less claustrophobic than its predecessor. But this does not distract from Us providing a horror of complexity and sheer brilliance.
Us is clever and assured filmmaking that proves Peele is an innovative and creative force in modern horror.
Country: USA 🇺🇸
Director: Jordan Peele