US is Creepy as Hell & Makes Brilliant Use of The Uncanny (Review)

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Wow, people sure are talking about Us, Jordan Peele’s latest film. Apparently it’s crazier than Get Out or maybe it’s less crazy than Get Out, but one thing seems to be certain – if you liked Get Out, you’ll LOVE Us.  Well what about those of us who didn’t see Get Out? There must be dozens of us, after all. How do you describe this Jordan Peele’s 2019 movie without referring to  his one in 2017? I’ll give it a shot – Us is my first exposure to this writer/director/producer.

A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.

I have to say, Us did a lot of things right.  For one thing, the suspense in this movie was off the charts.  I had to pee the entire time and I couldn’t bring myself to leave the theater, even briefly, because I had to know what happened next.  You couldn’t guess. If you tried, you’d be wrong. Us has a way of setting up a scene without actually revealing what’s going to happen.  I was surprised by each turn of events. The pacing and the atmosphere were perfect, toying with us, building a sense of foreboding and then when the shit hit the fan, it REALLY hit the fan.

It’s hard to make something frightening without having jump scares, but Us managed, mostly by being creepy as hell.  Jordan Peele made brilliant use of the Uncanny. People didn’t move right, they didn’t look right. You couldn’t tell what they were thinking or guess at their motivations.  Doppelgangers are inherently terrifying. Lupita Nyong’o was played into this so well, as did Evan Alex. Elisabeth Moss was also fantastic. That’s about all I can tell you without giving things away.

I might be the wrong person to review Us, mostly because despite all the good things I’ve just said, I didn’t like it. I don’t have a good reason for feeling this way but I have a few mediocre ones.  One is that the main characters had a blatant Plot Shield throughout the film that nobody else came even close to getting. That stuff drives me crazy. Also I didn’t buy the basic premise. I wanted an airtight explanation as to why this all was happening and I wasn’t satisfied with what I got.  Us didn’t seem remotely possible and that made it less scary. Did you ever watch Jaws and then hesitate before swimming in the ocean? Us probably isn’t going to do anything like that to anyone.

So is Us worth watching?  Yes, I suppose. It’s entertaining as heck.  And admittedly I love getting up from my seat and thinking “What the hell did I just watch?”, which absolutely happened.  And if you aren’t like me, who needs to know all the little logistics (who was feeding those rabbits, anyway?) then you’ll probably be a lot less bothered and actually be able to enjoy it.   But while A Quiet Place had me walking silently for at least an hour afterwards, I was able to shrug Us off even as the credits were rolling.

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