IN 1986, Adelaide wanders away from her parents in a theme park, and into a seemingly abandoned house of mirrors. Inside there, she is confronted by her doppelgänger who spends the rest of her life stalking her in visions.
This is Jordan Peele’s follow up to the wildly successful Get Out (2017 ). It is always hard to follow a classic but Peele knows exactly what he is doing. While Get Out was dubbed a social thriller this is very much a horror, and Peele digs right into the genre and is having great fun doing it. It has shades of Funny Games and Scream but with much more to say, as this film is laden with commentary on modern life, America, and racial and social issues.
I went into this thinking of it as Jordan Peele movie but came out realising it was a Lupita Nyong'o (the adult Adelaide ) film. Both Adelaide, and her doppelgänger, are entirely different performances. She walks, talks and looks completely different with no prosthetics or heavy make up. Despite winning a Golden Globe, Bafta, and Oscar for 12 Years A Slave in 2013, this is the first movie in which she is unquestionably the lead and I cannot wait to see what she does next.
' It is almost an extended episode of Black Mirror or Twilight Zone'
I am also looking forward to the Blu ray to see a director's commentary. I love the fact the movie is about your doppelgänger coming after you, and there is so much symmetry on display here - in the weapons the villains use (the scissors is a symmetrical object ); a football game is on TV and the score is 11 to 11; characters look at clocks and the time is 11:11. Everything you see in the film has a mirror image somewhere. I would imagine I picked up on only 20 per cent of the undertones, overtones, and hidden messages. The film is a lot more fun than I thought it would be.
That said for a film so layered in careful symbolism, the plot does not really stand up to scrutiny but that is OK, this is a supernatural thriller as much as a horror film. It is almost an extended episode of Black Mirror or Twilight Zone (a show which Peele is re-launching next month as producer ). The main flaw is that the characters were in a huge amount of danger. I did not feel like Peel had it in him to kill any of the family, so the stakes were not that high, particularly in the home invasion sequence in the first half.
Overall, Us confirms Peel is more Hitchcock than Wes Creaven and that is exciting. We do not need another great horror master as much as we do a master of character based thrillers. While this is not as tight as Get Out, it is a really great follow up and a film that deserves to be seen in the cinema.