Two years ago, Jordan Peele made his debut as a writer and director by presenting one of the most original horror / thrillers, Get Out. The film was very sharp in conveying its sociopolitical message, but for me it was not so scary. Now he is carrying Us, a film that is not very original but is really very scary. This film shook me who initially doubted about the capability of director on Get Out, because now he proved that he could make horror films that were truly horror if needed.
Peele takes care of the home-invasion cliché premise of the film being a smart and fresh horror. As we expect from Comedy Central’s legendary Key & Peele sketch, he expertly combines horror with comedy, not through the “uh, I want to be funny” scene but through the awkward situation. This guarantees that we laugh does not mean getting out of the grip of the film. But what I admire more is how brilliantly it creates horror that is so absurd through something relatively simple. Something that can be done by us. Us.
More precisely, his terror was carried by something that looked exactly like us. Or, is that really the case? A little girl (Madison Curry) discovered this when straying in a playground on the beach of Santa Cruz. This event left such a deep trauma that made the little girl who grew up to be Lupita Nyong’o, easily anxious and overprotective towards her two children (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex). Unfortunately, the husband who was running away (Winston Duke) took him and his family to vacation at a guesthouse close to the ill-fated beach.
The scale of the story extends, more than just home-invasion, because it then involves a very ambitious concept of science. And with more symbolism and subtext. This is when we think back to the text at the beginning of the film that tells about the many secret tunnels under America. Or about the news on old-school television that proclaimed the action of “Hands Across America”, a charity event involving 6 million Americans joined hands across the country (whether the number was correct or not). Or about the Jeremiah 11:11 letter about God giving disaster. Or the matter of dozens of rabbits in the cage which are the introductory scenes of the film’s title. Everything is like hinting … uhm, something, but it doesn’t feel connected in one clear concept. Us like to say something, but he doesn’t know what he wants to say.