A vacationing family finds themselves terrorized by their doppelgangers in Us. Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) is a woman still affected by traumatic experience she went through as a child, where she came to face to face with someone who looked just like her. With her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and kids Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), Adelaide travels to the family’s summer home near Santa Cruz and spends the day on the beach with friends Kitty (Elisabeth Moss) and Josh (Tim Heidecker). However, when night falls, Adelaide and her family come face-to-face with their exact doppelgangers, who turn out to have violent intentions.
Comedian, turned horror filmmaker Jordon Peele follows up his 2017 breakthrough film Get Out with another film that uses the horror genre to provide some social commentary. Despite also featuring African American protagonists, Us is less a film about race and more about the general fear of the “other.” The plot of the film starts in 1986, showing Adelaide as a child entering a house of mirrors on the Santa Cruz boardwalk and being confronted by her exact double. This night has haunted her for the last three decades and her worse nightmares come true when it turns out that Adelaide’s entire family have evil versions of themselves, all of whom are dressed in identical red jumpsuits and armed with a pair of scissors.
I’m going to probably start off by saying that Us is probably not as strong a film as Get Out, even though it’s still a very layered horror film. Us does a pretty good job of being quite tense at times, while also having flourishes of dark comedy. In fact there’s one particularly moment, where the film switches from horrific to hilarious at the drop of dime, thanks in part to a well timed musical cue.
Because the plot calls for practically everyone to play two characters, Us is a film that is highly dependent on strong performances. At the forefront of the cast is Lupita Nyong’o as the tortured Adelaide and the lead doppelganger, credited only as Red. In fact, the climatic confrontation between Adelaide and Red must have been quite challenging to film, as Nyong’o is essentially having to fight herself. Also, even though she only has a relatively small supporting role in the film, I do believe that Us gives plenty of reasons to cast Elisabeth Moss in more horror films.
Overall, I’ll say that even though Get Out is probably the stronger film, Us is still a pretty entertaining horror follow-up for Jordon Peele.