‘Us’ doubles down on mystery and horror


Monkeypaw Productions

Lupita Nyong’o plays Adelaide Wilson, the mother of a family who is attacked by terrifying duplicates of themselves in Jordan Peele’s “Us.” Adelaide is a dynamic, truly awesome character defined by her love for her family and a nightmarish experience from her childhood.

Ian Fertig, A&E Editor

They think like you. They look like you. They want to kill you. When their doubles attack, a family bands together to stay alive. But can they defeat themselves?

‘Us’ centers around the Wilsons, a family of four on vacation who are tormented and attacked by clones of themselves…With this simple premise, Jordan Peele has created another iconic horror movie masterpiece.”

— A&E Editor Ian Fertig

So goes the plot of “Us,” the second horror/thriller film written and directed by Jordan Peele following the Oscar-nominated “Get Out.”

“Us” centers around the Wilsons, a family of four on vacation who are tormented and attacked by clones of themselves. Their fight for survival is grim, bloody, and ceaselessly enthralling. With this simple premise, Jordan Peele has created another iconic horror movie masterpiece.

The Wilsons and their evil twins are played by four stellar actors and actresses who manage to perfect both the scared and confused suburbanites and the maniacal nightmares in red suits.

Lupita Nyong’o stars as Adelaide, the nervous and protective mother. Winston Duke plays Gabe, a cheerful and wholesome father. Shahadi Wright Joseph plays Zora, the teenage daughter with a taste for music and picking on her younger brother, Jason, played by Evan Alex.

At the movie’s start, the Wilsons are extremely normal. Gabe is a bit overbearing, Zora is always on her phone, Jason plays with his toys, and Adelaide is keeping her anxieties in check so her family can enjoy the beach. When their counterparts attack, each family member undergoes a radical (and believable) character change to survive the night.

If any character deserves the most attention, it’s Lupita Nyong’o’s Adelaide, whose traumatizing experience as a child has everything to do with these doubles. Nyong’o’s performance and Adelaide’s importance to the plot places her at the center of the drama, much to the benefit of the entire movie. “Us” is not just the story of the Wilsons, it’s Adelaide’s story.

Monkeypaw Productions

The rest of the family are still stars, however, and viewers will find them easy to root for as they battle their murderous doppelgangers. “Us” is not necessarily a family-oriented feature, like “A Quiet Place,” but rather a bloody and mysterious thriller with the origin of these doubles and the characters’ fight for survival as the main plot focus.

Jordan Peele’s new world is packed with clever symbolism, parallelism, and subtle hints towards the unpredictable plot developments of the final moments of “Us.”

This movie features a vastly more intriguing unseen plot twist than any M. Night Shyamalan ever created. The genius of Peele’s writing is that each reveal fits the narrative seamlessly, never leaving the audience with a feeling of “there’s just no way that could have happened!” “Us” lays the groundwork so well that it’s worth seeing a second time to appreciate the brilliance of the plot.

In a fight for survival, things get bloody. The camera does not shy away from the ‘man vs clone’ violence very often, so expect scissors, baseball bats, pans, and fireplace pokers to be put to use with brutal results. There are still some moments where the violence is implied and fighting occurs offscreen, allowing more poignant and artistic moments to be shown instead.

The entirety of “Us” is a tense and eerie experience, building up to a psychologically terrifying end. The climactic battle takes place amid the creeping, dramatic score composed by Michael Abels. The shrieking violins and tiptoeing piano music are forever drilled into the memory of anyone who witnesses this phenomenal scene.

The original song that permeates the final sequence, “Pas De Deux,” is inspired by the intro to the Luniz song “I Got 5 on It,” which appears twice in the movie. Incorporating this song into the Wilsons’ story and converting it into the finale’s background track was a brilliant move.

“Us” is a movie-going experience that proves to the world that Jordan Peele is not a one-hit wonder. His directorial skill and the talent of a two-faced cast will leave “Us” on audience’s minds long after it’s over.

Satisfy your desire to be excited, scared, and enthralled, and see it, double-time.