US Review: 8 out of 10 (Scared of your Shadow?)
US is the latest film written and directed by Jordan Peele. The film stars Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker. Although most have touted the movie as a horror film, for the sake of most audience expectations this reviewer would call it more of a supernatural thriller. The movie follows the Thomas family, Adelaide, Gabe, Zora, and Jason—out on summer vacation. While visiting the beach where Adelaide was traumatized as a child, the family is later confronted by a set of doppelgangers. These “copies” of each of the family members, are there to wreak havoc (and occasional horror) on the family.
To say much more than this is to reveal more than anyone should about US. This is a film that is best seen with all of its secrets intact. Suffice to say that Peele creates a film that seems one part home invasion horror, a few dashes of humor to lighten the tension, and a healthy dollop of twists and turns. Lupita Nyong’o is stunning here playing dual roles, turning in a performance that should be considered for future awards. Winston Duke as an overly affable (and emasculated) dad works to throw in those funny moments that are tonally off at times. US explores a lot of ideas here—racial othering, class, and even the “idols” of technology (Jeremiah 11:11). However, there are *so* many ideas that Peele wants to explore, that not all of them are either completely leveraged or fully realized. Add in a third act that needs a scene or two of over-explaining though monologue and US ends up being a strange film with stunning visuals and big ideas—some work and others don’t. But the risk is worth the journey.
Peele has moxie with making this film. US definitely goes for broke. It is much like a gymnast who launches themselves into the air with grandeur, attempting twists, beauty, and a few gasps of excitement. But like that gymnast, US doesn’t quite stick the landing. But it gets a lot of credit for the attempt.