Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss
Plot twists, dark identity, humour, thrills — these make up Jordan Peele's second directorial venture 'Us'.
The film starts with a prologue set in 1986 where a young Adelaide wanders off on a beach in Santa Cruz and witnesses something terrifying — a girl who looks just like her. Cut to the present, adult Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) still experiences the trauma of the bone-chilling incident. The bad memories resurface when she comes back to the same beach on a vacation with her husband and two children.
Here, the Wilson family is attacked by their doppelgangers — the Tethered, but they manage to escape. They take cover at their friends' house, but what happens there poses a bigger threat. Who are the Tethered? What is their motive? How do the Wilsons escape? Answers to this form the rest of the story.
The narrative is interesting and keeps you at the edge of your seat. The last 20 minutes of the film are especially thrilling.
Peele's excellence shines in the way he weaves the story. Having tackled racism in the US in his previous work Get Out, the director traverses inside the deeper and darker aspects of human beings with Us, also highlighting oppression and revolt. But what is unsettling is the explanation of the concept of the Tethered. The question of their backstory is left lingering in one's mind.
All the actors deliver brilliant performances as the 'real' people and the Tethered. Lupita is a treat to watch. While Adelaide is an anxious, terrified and protective mother, her alter-ego Red is angry, scary and wounded. Lupita pulls off both these parallel identities with perfection. Winston Duke as Gabe Wilson is comical; Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora Wilson/Umbrae and Evan Alex as Jason Wilson/Pluto are excellent.
The music score is captivating and the use of human voice complements the thriller.
With its unique narrative, Us stands out in the horror genre. The underlying concept is thought-provoking, and to understand it, every scene and dialogue requires undivided attention.