It’s clear that most horror movies in this day and age follow a certain storyline: a masked intruder terrorizes the citizens of a remote town and is defeated by a driven hero. What happens when the person under the mask is yourself? Director Jordan Peele was determined to answer that question in his second feature film, Us.
After Peele’s successful directorial debut with his 2017 film Get Out, the announcement of his second project in Feb. 2018 quickly built up high expectations. Get Out focused on the theme of racial divisions in America through the eyes of a young black man, which led many fans of his work to wonder what issue would be next on the big screen.
Us follows Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family as they arrive in Santa Cruz, CA for a summer vacation at the beach. Unbeknownst to her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and kids Zora and Jason (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex), Adelaide had a traumatizing experience in Santa Cruz as a child, and the memories consistently haunt her. The Wilsons come face to face with Adelaide’s nightmares as Red, Abraham, Umbrae and Pluto break into their home and terrorize them, only to reveal that their intruders are doppelgängers of themselves.
After his first film, Peele became known as a king of symbolism and Easter eggs, leading moviegoers to keep their minds alert while watching Us. Several messages could be found throughout the film such as the concept of duality and general criticism of American priorities, but Peele also included recurring hints that made the audience keep their eyes open. “I went in [to the movie] knowing I had to look for the small hints because of his first one,” senior Hannah Johnston said.
Peele would not have been able to create a chilling thriller without the help of a talented cast. From hilarious lines delivered by Duke, to incredible preparation by Nyong’o in order to create a frightening voice for Red, the hard work and dedication that went into this film is evident. “Lupita Nyong’o delivers one of the great performances in horror movie history,” rollingstone.com said.
After its release on Mar. 22, Us has averaged positive reviews from both critics and the general public. It received a 94 percent from Rotten Tomatoes and an 81 percent from Metacritic. The general consensus from viewers is that Us was harder to follow and prompted more thinking compared to Get Out, leading to slightly lower ratings. “It was kind of boring and a little freaky in my opinion and I didn’t really understand the ending,” senior Catherine Campbell said.
While this is Peele’s second production in the horror genre, some still aren’t used to his large transition from his comedy show Key and Peele. Although it’s something new, Peele has definitely made a name for himself in the horror business.“I read an article [about Us] with spoilers because I thought it would be less scary. It wasn’t,” junior Gabi Giro said.