Film Review: Us

Mild spoilers ahead!

Jordan Peele’s latest piece has been highly anticipated since the success of his previous work, Get Out. So, did it live up to expectations?

Us for me, was very much a film of two halves. The first half was great, but ultimately it was let down by a lacklustre, rather convoluted second act.

The premise is rather simple, a family of four head out to a beach house for a bit of a getaway, where they are invaded by a group of doppelgangers. This opening act had me hooked and I found myself rather captivated by the concept, Lupita Nyong’o gives a sensational performance as Adelaide and her doppelganger, Red. They really do feel like completely different characters and you’d be forgiven if you forgot that she was playing them both, her vocal performance as Red, in particular, is bone-chilling and I think it’s near impossible to be creeped out by her, the rest of the cast are fantastic as well, there isn’t a bad performance in this film. Jordan Peele really nailed the tension in this first act and I did find myself on edge quite a bit and was excited to see how much further this horror would go, but sadly, things started to go downhill at this point.

My first gripe was the overuse of comedy in the film. Moments that are genuinely scary and tense are often downplayed by being immediately followed by “comedic” moments that completely took me out of the situation. Once or twice would have been fine, but after seeing this occur multiple times I started to question whether or not this film can even be classified as a full-on horror, much of the comedy seemed unnecessary and personally, I felt it was a detriment to the overall experience.

As the film continues, the plot seems to get more and more convoluted and confusing to the point where I was losing interest. Certain moments occur which left me scratching my head, as nothing similar happens at any point in the film and it came across as a convenience to get the main characters out of their predicament, it just felt like lazy writing to me. Peele leaves a lot of questions unanswered, which would have been fine, but I felt that even the answered questions didn’t make a great deal of sense. I was aware that this film was trying to be very metaphorical and convey a number of different messages to the audience, but I wasn’t really getting many of them, so either they weren’t very well delivered or I’m simply too unintelligent to understand them. Gauging the opinions of the other people I saw it with, it would appear that they were in the same boat as me and it wasn’t just myself that wasn’t quite getting it. That being said, if you’re one of those people that love the abstract and can spend hours meticulously analysing a film after you’ve watched it, you’re probably going to love Us, as there’s certainly plenty to ponder.

Overall, Us was largely disappointing for me. I was loving it when it was sticking to the basics and just trying to be a horror film, but I think that in an attempt to be arty and different, the overall quality of it was diminished by the end. Unnecessary, tacked on comedy took me out of the moments and then the plot became so bizarre and convoluted that I lost a lot of interest. I acknowledge that this is a film that may become clearer with multiple viewings, but I left with little desire to watch it again. A lot of the writing seemed lazy and I personally just felt like it was a lacklustre story. It’s a shame, because it’s a very well made film, with fantastic performances and a brilliant score, there are glimpses of massive potential, I just wish that the film had remained a bit simpler and focused on the moments/concepts that were genuinely scary, because it certainly felt like it lost it’s way. I would strongly argue the case that this didn’t feel like a horror film at all.

I don’t want my score to put people off though, because I do believe this is a film that is going to divide opinions and I think a lot of people will probably love it, so it’s worth seeing, you may feel completely different. It just wasn’t for me.

I give Us a 5.5/10. 

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