Us Review: Have you met your doppelgänger?

Does Jordan Peele’s follow up to Get Out live up to the hype?

This review may contain minor spoilers. Read at your own risk. I also suggest not watching the trailers as they contain spoilers.

After watching Get Out two years ago, I was impressed with Jordan Peele’s (of comedy duo Key & Peele) directorial debut. Coming from a man who’s built a career around comedy, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Get Out had great performances, it was well written and had some unnerving scenes.

However, there is always room for improvement.

So, is Us an improvement over Get Out?

Yes, and no. The film definitely has great performances across the board, with Lupita Nyong’o in particular giving an outstanding performance as both herself and her double. Winston Duke as the father Gabe gives a great performance, providing the film with most of its comic relief. I was also surprised with the performances of the child actors Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, the latter reminding me of Danny from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

Us, on a technical level, surpasses Get Out (perhaps because of the increased budget of $20 million in comparison to Get Out’s $4.5 million). It features great cinematography from Mike Gioulakis (It Follows, Split) and superb fight choreography and editing, with the final fight between Nyong’o’s Adelaide and her doppelgänger making for excellent viewing.

The writing of Us is where it becomes hit and miss. The main family are well written and very likeable, with the dialogue between them being natural and the banter being entertaining (maybe apart from a scene where they reference Home Alone). However, while the film feels very purposeful with its symbolism and has some reincorporation that would make Edgar Wright blush, the meaning of the film is confusing.  This may be down to the fact that while Get Out was a psychological-horror/thriller, Us is a more straight forward horror/slasher film.  Get Out’s true horror didn’t appear until the final act; the film took its time building the characters, the story world and the tension. Us tries to juggle being an entertaining horror film with social commentary, but neither  succeed in the way that Get Out did unfortunately.

While I cannot speak for everyone that has or will see the film, the film just isn’t very scary. Not to say that the film didn’t have parts that made me feel uncomfortable, I just never found myself as shocked and unnerved as I was while watching some of the scenes in Get Out. It may have also not helped that I guessed the twist within the first 10 minutes of the film. I just wished Peele would have pulled the rug from underneath me as the film was getting towards its final moments.

But despite all of my gripes with the writing, Us is a more entertaining watch than Get Out. Us is a film that you can put on with friends, grab some drinks, and have a good time whilst watching. If you wanted to watch it again, you’d maybe gain more meaning from it. But whatever meaning you gather, in Us you’ll find a well-made mainstream horror film. And let’s be honest, how many of them do we come across?

Us is showing everyday until the 4th April at the Commodore Cinema at 7:30pm.