In his inaugural address, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Many people have a fear. The film industry, in turn, thrives on fear used in horror and suspense. Over recent years, though, one director has redefined the true meaning of fear.
Known for his variety sketch comedy series, Jordan Peele released his first film, “Get Out,” last year. It was an original story about an interracial couple meeting the parents. Following the widespread success of “Get Out,” Peele recently released another successful original, “Us.”
Peele’s first major success in the film industry, “Get Out” grossed more than $255 million worldwide. It also earned a 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. At the 2018 Academy Awards, it received three nominations, including Best Picture. Peele took home the award for Best Original Screenplay, becoming the first African-American to win in that category.
“Us” tells the story of the Wilsons family on their way to Santa Cruz for their summer vacation. However, Adelaide, played by Lupita Nyong’o, feels uneasy about the vacation due to her traumatic childhood. A group called “the Tethered” attack Adelaide and her family one night. These doppelgängers wear red, prison-style jumpsuits, fingerless gloves, carry golden scissors and want to break free. It falls upon Adelaide to protect her family at all cost from the Tethered.
Nyong’o became a chameleon within the story, expressing emotions and personalities vividly. However, the presentation of the rest of the cast was lacking. The film’s editing was made last minute. For example, during the final confrontation between Adelaide and her Tethered, it was too easy to distinct between what was real and added.
Jordan Peele and what he brings to the film industry
Peele never ceases to amaze with his social commentary through his films. When Universal Pictures released the trailer for “Us,” its concept stood out with originality. We live in a world where we are afraid, yet we neglect what we fear most: ourselves. The film emphasizes fear by displaying personal flaws as if they are reflections on a mirror. This creates an experience for audiences, leaving them with their eyes glued to the screen and begging to know what comes next.
Every movie has problems, however…
The key to a thriller is making the audience scared. Many films include jump scares or a plot twist that sends chills down spines. “Us” only took audiences halfway. The “scare factor” was lacking, especially with the use of blood and makeup.
Regardless, praise should be given to the people behind the suspenseful music. The film also uses the first-person point of view, making audiences believe the characters are looking at them, adding to the tension. There is one scene where Adelaide’s doppelgänger looks at the audience with one eye. This scene combined with the music creates the suspense Peele wanted. The so-called “plot twist” comes at the end, though, leaving audiences with more questions than answers. The music could not save this poor timing.
Peele’s “Us” is a substantial thriller, but it cannot match “Get Out.” The twist of the antagonists being the protagonists is original. However, the muddled storyline leave audiences confused. The scare tactics were mediocre through acting, but with the music and cinematography, the audience will be on the edge of their seats.
“Us” earns a rating of 7.5 out of 10. If you crave a thrilling experience, you will be adequately satisfied with this latest film.
Edited by Lauren Claxton and Grace Goodacre