Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Us' (2019)
If you met yourself, would you like what you see?
Jordan Peele is hands down the new Master of Horror and I can't wait to see his take on The Twilight Zone when it airs.
I should mention, I'm easily bored by home invasion movies. Regardless of the sociopolitical undertones of movie like The Purge, or the feminist undertones of Hush, I simply couldn't get into the stories. Home invasion always smacks of silly upper-class privileged fear mongering, regardless of how it was spun. So, regardless of the fact, there's clearly some kind of supernatural overtone to this movie, I was still worried it was gonna be just another home invasion movie. There has also been a huge hype machine behind Jordan Peele since Get Out and I was worried this couldn't live up to the expectations.
I have to say, not only was I not let down, Us and Get Out have simply set a new standard of horror.
Before we get into that, let me just be clear, that there are some deeper sociopolitical undertones to this movie, but I'm not going to make some embarrassing attempt to "whitesplain" something I don't understand.
First thing's first. Bravo on the fucking acting. I can't say it was Oscar material, but who fucking cares. The Oscars are an antiquated, racist circle jerk that has more to do with bribery than talent. Now, the acting wasn't perfect at first. You could tell, the lead female played by Lupita Nyong'o was struggling a little to split her head between two characters. Not a spoiler. She doesn't have a twin so she had to play the female lead and the lead female antagonist. But GOD DAMN when she finally puts the pieces together. Her chemistry with her own damn self is just fantastic. You really believe there are two of her.
The atmosphere was palpable. Yes it's dark, yes it's gritty, but it feels so real. It's like they didn't dress the set, they just filmed as is. It felt so right, it could have easily been a 'Shaky Camera' movie that was just shot with incredibly expensive digital recording equipment.
The Story is easy enough to follow but it's deep and clearly layered. Everything means something, and it will leave you agonizing as to what it's all about. There's a twist ending, not going to spoil that, but the clues were subtle but fair and brilliantly hidden. I did guess it, but not because it's obvious, rather because I'm a horror writer and I figured Peele would do the same thing I would.
There was one practical FX where I feel they phoned it in. It's not bad, it just feels like they could've done more. I'm talking specifically about the young boy's evil twin and how the lower half of his face is fucked up. Again, not a spoiler, they show you in the previews. I feel like it wasn't powerful enough or a stark enough contrast.
I am calling this a must watch. General audiences will appreciate this movie. I know it's going on my top 15, at least, but I'm not sure where.
DON'T READ THE SPOILERS UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN IT!
This is not just one family being tormented by weird doppelgangers. This is a straight up invasion, body snatchers style. I recently did a podcast with Madness Heart Press, where I mentioned I was excited to see what the mythos behind these doppelgangers was. Were they demons, classical changelings, evil twins from another dimension? All of these guesses hinged on the fact that I thought it was just one family being attacked. But it's apparently the whole damn country, or at least all of CA. These doppelgangers are actually clones from a government experiment and are somehow psychically connected to their original counterpart. The idea was to control the masses using the connection to their clones, but it failed. The clones could only feel what the originals felt, while the originals were blissfully unaware.
The clones feel uncontrollably compelled to do what the originals do except they're lost and confused almost animalistic. They feel forced to breed with the same people and have identical children but without the help or direction of society. For instance, Lupita Nyong'o's character had to have a c-section for her boy, but the 'evil' clone had to give herself a c-section after being forced to have a child with the evil clone husband because she felt like she had to.
There are problems with this, however. There are literally thousands of clones called 'The Tethered.' They were originally tended by clinical staff, but when abandoned, how the fuck did they survive? One lady performing her own c-section is sorta believable, but the infant mortality should have been ridiculously high, not to mention their life expectancy tragically low. This isn't the only obvious problem, it's just the biggest glaring one. I can't get into the other big obvious problems without ruining the twist, and I'm not going to. I want you to watch this movie!
Go watch this movie!