>> A director’s sophomore film will usually be judged with more scrutiny than a director’s debut film—especially if their debut was successful both critically and commercially. The most anticipated film of March 2019 is Jordan Peele’s sophomore film Us. Whether we admit it or not, Us had some large shoes to fill after Peele’s debut feature Get Out, which went on to win him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
“Us is a horror movie”, Peele tweeted this not so subtle reminder to audiences before Us hit theatres. He’s right—Us is a horror movie, a horror movie that doesn’t redefine the genre, or stand out because of its technical achievements. If anything, Us should be known for Lupita N’yongo’s performance, which didn’t miss a beat when it came to performing a protective mother and her unsettling powerful double.
Peele’s directing has notably improved since Get Out—the technical/visual quality of Us is superior to its predecessor. Yet, my main gripe with Us is its screenplay. Us plays out a bit differently than expected—while many were anticipating a psychological horror masterpiece, Peele delivers a standard cat-and-mouse apocalyptic horror film. Once the film’s second act begins, it’s clear to see where the entire film is going. The action sequences are a bit dull, and I found it hard to pay attention just because it was so expected.
The film’s conclusion is a bit underwhelming but contributes to the overall message of the film. However, while that message is strong it doesn’t shine—mainly because everything in the film is extremely literal. Its metaphors are not quite metaphors because they are literally acted out on screen in front of us. The film’s message straightforward and clear, there’s not too much to decipher in Us. I hate to say it, but the trailer held my attention more than the film itself. 7/10 <<
Us premiered at SXSW, and recently opened in theatres everywhere March 22.