Main cast: Lupita Nyong’o (Adelaide Wilson & Red), Winston Duke (Gabriel Wilson & Abraham), Shahadi Wright Joseph (Zora Wilson & Umbrae), Evan Alex (Jason Wilson & Pluto), Elisabeth Moss (Kitty Tyler & Dahlia), Tim Heidecker (Josh Tyler & Tex), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Russel Thomas & Weyland), Anna Diop (Rayne Thomas & Eartha), and Napiera Groves (Dr Foster & Amethyst)
Director: Jordan Peele
First, let me say that it’s awesome to see more black representation in the horror genre, and Jordan Peele’s second big screen flick Us is a gorgeously filmed, well-acted thing indeed. Unfortunately, I don’t think we need another variety of the pod people film, even if this one has a predominantly black cast. Same old thing is still the same old thing, you know?
When she was a girl, Adelaide Wilson had a terrifying encounter in a funhouse hall of mirrors, one that left her unable to speak for a while. Well, she’s now an adult happily married to Gabriel – does Black Panther know that his girlfriend is cheating on him with a guy from another tribe? – and has two kids, Zora and Jason. Her past catches up with her, however, one night when she and her family go to their lakeside home for some R&R. Back at the hall of mirrors, she encountered a mirror image or Tethered of her who attacked her. Now, this Tethered, Red, is back with mirror images of her husband and kids, and they are going to kill her and her family to take their place. Worse, the mirror image revolution is taking place all over the country…
Sure, the funhouse thing is something different from aliens coming to pod-people everyone, and this one doesn’t even have the are-they-or-aren’t-they suspense. Us is more of a straight up brawl between the Wilsons and their Tethered counterparts, as if Mr Peele couldn’t decide whether he wanted funhouse, home invasion, or pod people tropes and ended up just adding in everything.
Does this mean that this is a terrible movie? No – as I’ve mentioned, the cast is solid and the production values are top notch.
But is it derivative? Sadly, yes. Nothing here really stands out as something that I haven’t seen many times before, and I’m actually annoyed by how often the movie uses that brat Jason as the “Oh! He’s missing! Kidnapped! Again!” plot device that forces these people to go back into the wringer every time they are this close to ending the movie before its allocated run time.
Also, Mr Peele’s script seems to work overtime to undercut itself. The explanation behind the origins of the Tethered folks actually removes much of their mystique and the “twist”, which makes sense considering the earlier scenes of the movie, doesn’t add much to the movie – this is a twist that exists for the sake of having a twist in the movie.
Oh, and is it just me, or the Tethered folks have so much more cooler names?
Anyway, Us is a perfectly decent time-waster when this one hits the streaming channels, but I personally am not wowed by this movie. It’s okay, but it’s also on the forgettable side.