Jordan Peele’s much anticipated follow up to ‘Get Out’, titled ‘Us’, was released last week. We waited for you to see it and now we reviewed it. There are no spoilers in this review! For the full spoiler review, listen to this week’s Lights Camera Barstool…
Jeff (93/100): ‘Us’ is an incredibly captivating movie from Jordan Peele, with horror driven by outstanding performances and an ambitious premise. A movie that is sparking plenty of debate amongst moviegoers, ‘Us’ had me on the edge of my seat and in awe of Peele’s intricate work from start to finish.
It’s hard to talk about the story and plot of ‘Us’ without spoiling anything, so I will just say that I loved everything Jordan Peele threw on the table. I love weird, “out there” concepts (EX: ‘Her’) with movies and getting that in the horror genre was an absolute delight. Will everyone connect to what is on screen and how it is told? No, it’s already becoming clear that some people don’t care for how it all plays out, which is fine. There is commentary on class in the movie, but the concept and story both leave it open to how one can interpret the overall message. That haunting mystery and intrigue of the story also play into the horror and creepiness of the movie for me. (Not to mention that I also found all of the home invasions scenes and the characters involved to be terrifying) From issues of class to us, as humans, being “our own worst enemy,” ‘Us’ still has me thinking even a week after seeing it for the first time. A divisive blockbuster movie with a good healthy debate over meanings, ideas and more is outstanding for the world of film.
The foundation of the brilliance in the movie comes from three parts for me: the acting, the visual cues, and the music. Lupita Nyong’o is incredible in the lead role and will certainly get Oscar buzz. While Winston Duke also hammered out a chillingly-hilarious performance as well. There is so much symbolism with ‘Us’ and, like with ‘Get Out’, it will take multiple viewings just to pick up on everything. Nothing Peele puts in ‘Us’ (and ‘Get Out’) is done without purpose or meaning. Lastly, the music used in the movie elevates it to an entirely different level. I have said many times before that sound is the most important part of a horror movie to me. Everyone knows about the eerie “I Got 5 On It” remix from the trailer, but the score and music selection for the movie were the collective “chef kiss” for Peele with driving home the horror aspect to ‘Us’.
Could the movie have used more ambiguity? Yes. My only real issue is that I felt Peele’s story was a bit too on the nose at times. As someone who loves ambiguous endings, leaving even more of the message and plot open to interpretation would have only been a good thing.
Jordan Peele clearly achieved everything he was trying to do when making ‘Us’. It’s a creepy, thought-provoking and brilliant filmmaking. It’s a movie you should see in theaters and continue discussing long after you leave.
SIDE NOTE: Tim Heidecker is a legend and the fucking best. So proud of my good boy Tim.
KenJac (87/100): Jordan Peele’s sophomore effort is a success that features not just his growth as a director, but what is the best performance by an actress so far this year from Lupita Nyong’o. There are definitely some hiccups, but overall it is a beautiful yet haunting film with subtle messaging that makes you use more than the 1% of your brain most modern horror movies do.
The star of the show is Nyong’o, who excels both as the haunted mother Adelaide and her counterpart Red. There is a lot of depth and contortion and levels she reached that helped make this movie what it is, and I truly think this movie wouldn’t be half as good without her. I also enjoyed Winston Duke as the goofy, Family Vacation-type dad Gabe alongside two very different children in Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). Also, shoutout to Tim Heideker and Elisabeth Moss who were born to play the twisted supporting roles they had.
The film was shot beautifully, and it was awesome to see as a fan of Peele’s work. On the pod this week I compared seeing Peele grow is like seeing a player your favorite team drafted to add a new element to their game. My personal favorite camerawork moment has to be (no spoilers) an opening shot of rabbit cages set to some haunting chants. The movie also relays some interesting messaging which is really up to the viewer to decide. It’s tough to talk about without spoiling, but I gave my thoughts in the spoiler section of the review on the podcast if you want to hear more. My biggest complaint has to come with the ending and its lack of ambiguity which, again, is tough to explain without spoilers.
Overall, I think this is one of the better horror movies I’ve seen recently not necessarily from a horror standpoint, but from an overall film standpoint. It has much smarter writing, better performances, and a more interesting/creative storyline than 99% of all horror films which is a credit to what Peele has brought into the genre. Also, props to Peele for ‘Us’ grossing the second most money EVER for a live-action, original movie (not based on existing IP) on opening weekend, second only to ‘Avatar’.
So ‘Us’, with the Audience and Trillballins’ scores is Officially Buttered. Subscribe to Lights, Camera, Barstool where we reviewed ‘Us’ in-depth. Also, remember to rate all 2019 and 2018 movies below.