Jordan Peele’s 2017 directorial debut Get Out was a densely-layered, beautifully-constructed near-masterpiece of…well, not quite horror. But close. Deeply allegorical and darkly funny, the movie was a huge hit and made just about everyone take notice of the sketch comedian-turned-auteur.
Two years later, Us comes to theatres without the benefit of surprise. So does this second outing measure up to the first?
Yes and no. Long stretches of Us are better than Get Out but the whole is not quite there. Still, considering that Get Out was in my top 10 of that year, this is still a massive achievement.
Lupita Nyong’o emerges as a very early candidate for an Oscar with two near-perfect performances. In fact, everyone here is doing double-duty and doing it well. Not one member of the cast feels miscast.
On a technical level, the movie is practically flawless. Pictures, sound, music and editing are all on point.
As for the story, Us again goes deep into metaphor and allegory and still elicits laughs and scares and while all of that stuff works very well, there’s one very big, very literal thing that didn’t quite work for me. There’s no way to talk about it without spoilers, so check the next podcast for that.
Still, this is must-see cinema. Peele is a genuinely crafty, remarkably well-studied filmmaker whose work here will help ensure that the horror-slash-thriller renaissance we’re experiencing continues.