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“Us” Potentially Oscar Worthy





Review by John Delia

A very creepy, violent and disturbing film Us enters theaters and it’s probably going to be there for some time. Not only is the plot haunting and filled with terror, the acting that makes it work is superb under the guidance of Jordan Peele who gave us the film Get Out. Adding more to the potentially Oscar-worthy film is the dank and fear inducing cinematography with a soundtrack to match. If you like your horror nonstop, then Us is for you.

Young Adelaide (Madison Curry) is having a fun time at the seaside amusement park of Santa Cruz, California with her father and mother. The night is getting her a bit weary, but she’s still hanging in there as her father seems to be having the time of his life with the carnival games. Before he mother seeks out a rest room she tells her husband to keep an eye on Adelaide. When he gets challenged by another guy in a game of Wack-a Mole, Adelaide wanders off and walks into a side show called Merlin’s Forrest. Like in a house of mirrors, the maze gets her confused, but as luck would have it she comes to a clearing where she meets a girl her age with her same likeness.

Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and Zora Wilson (Shahadi Wright Joseph) in “Us,” written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele.

Flash forward 20 years and we find Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) married to Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and has two children Jason (Evan Alex) and Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) who are on a trip to Santa Cruiz. They are going to meet up with best friends Josh (Tim Heidecker), Kitty Tyler (Elisabeth Moss) and their teenage daughters Becca (Cali Sheldon) and Lindsey (Noelle Sheldon). Tired from all the exercise at the beach they return to their rental cottage and are about to turn in for the night when Jason tells them that some people are in their driveway.

Evan Alex as Jason Wilson doppelgänger Pluto (with Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson, left, back to camera) in “Us,” written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele.

Gabe tries to warn the strangers dressed in all red that they must go away, but they won’t move. Director and writer of Us, Jordan Peele, provides the very strange opening and from that point on never stops the carnage in this daunting tale of doppelgangers versus the human race. The film plays out mostly at night so it gets very spooky and jumpy as the dark closes in on the players. He uses some very good mood enhancing music, much like Peele’s movie Get Out that threads its way throughout the film. It gives a feel of pending doom at times, but often just scares the living daylights out of you.

With low light shots of the nighttime scenes, he’s able to provide those jumpy instances that come at you from nowhere. But what makes those terror thrills work are the actors who portray the odd looking and weird doppelgangers that are hell bent on deleting their doubles so they can take over the world. Add to this gobs of bloody make-up, special effects and shot for shot lookalikes and if fear hasn’t set in you have seen way to many horror flicks.

Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong’o) and Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) in “Us,” written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele.

Speaking of acting, Lupita Nyong’o pulls off one of the best frenzied woman roles that equals, if not betters, Hallie Barry in the movie Kidnap. And in Us, Lupita has to play it out against herself. Once she gets into the defense and then vengeance rage there’s no stopping this woman from trying to save her children. It makes the movie work, taking it up a notch when it really needed it.

In the role of Jason, the youngest of the Wilsons, Evan Alex works his characters from two sides, good and evil. He’s the boy who hides behind a Halloween mask to avoid conversations with his mother and then the evil double of himself. It’s his role as Pluto who thinks he’s found a way to kill Jason’s family for the good of his doppelganger sub humans. This is his first full length feature and he nails his character(s).

Us has been rated R by the MPAA for violence/terror, and language. The trailers do not do the film justice as its far more fearsome and vengeance filled than it seems. So moms be cautioned when wanting to allow immature children to see the movie.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good terror flick for the horror fans or those who just want a good scare. (4 out of 5 Stars)


Additional Film Information:
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Madison Curry, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon
Directed and written by: Jordan Peele
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for violence/terror, and language
Running Time: 116 min
Opening Date: March 22, 2019
Distributed by: Universal
Released in: Standard

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