BlackNerdMagic’s review published on Letterboxd:
Us delivers on all the promise and excellence that was displayed in the trailer from December. I have been just like a little kid giddy with anticipation for a new nightmare from the incredible mind of Jordan Peele. A terrifying narrative in which a family finds itself being terrorized by a family that looks just like them only to uncover there is a more grave sinister plot taking over the whole United States. The tagline is "You are your worst enemy"; what results is a film that is sure to cause massive debate among filmgoers looking to pinpoint the deep message being put forth and be remembered as a truly one of a kind experience.
The acting performances in Us are well done and everyone should be proud of their efforts. Lupita Nyong'o puts on a grand master performance that will go down in the annals of the Horror Film Hall Of Fame. Her turn as Red, the leader of the Tethered, is all parts calculated, dominant, and horror brilliance. The use of her voice as without breath but villainous intent gives the viewers an uneasy disposition anytime she is on screen. Winston Duke is a bundle of brightness and I loved see his versatility; he has me in stitches with moments of well timed humor that give a quick reprieve from the creepy atmosphere. The kids (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) are very talented and were able to balance the two roles beautifully; good for them to have moments of badassery and not just being kids that have to be saved in every scene. The little girl Madison Curry is a revelation in the making with her sinister smiles and able to tell a story through her eyes; Hollywood, start giving her more roles.
Peele has already proven that he can be very purposeful with his command of the camera and this film is another display of his Hitchcock and Kubrick influences which are then made into his own style. He has mastered the skill of filming close ups that made look at the screen in awe; the golden use of low angle shots to frame characters as being beneath or inferior to their terrifying dopplegangers. I loved the whip pans in certain sequences that matched up the tension as the camera moves around our characters like a ballet. A lot of wide shots that convey emotion or that show the terror from a distance is remarkable; Peele is a sorcerer and a future legend in the making. The opening credits now ranked as one my personal favorites with the slow pull back of the camera and the hair standing up on your skin creepy music in the background; it is saying a lot without telling the audience too much.
Sound design is impeccable; you hear the booming sounds of someone trying to break down a door, the screams and surprise of a character when they uncover a member of The Tethered, the sound of scissors opening and closing, the footsteps of a villain running through the dirt; intelligent technical design. The score is work of high art by Michael Abels; his orchestral flip of a hip hop classic ("I Got 5 On It") will go down in history and the use of booming drums and elegant violins are the perfect music for a creepy out of this world horror film. Make up design is believable casting our actors into their Tethered brethren.
The twist at the end of the film worked for me on so many levels and it is telegraphed right in front of your eyes throughout the runtime you will be shocked when it appears. So much symbolism and imagery that this film requires more than one viewing to really come to a head on the messages and parallels Peele is giving to us. You may come to a different handle on things than I did but even so it speaks to the impact of this film able to sparked a lot of discussion on why The Tethered are trying to take over the Earth, the ethics of cloning, the family unit, the millions of abandoned tunnels and shafts underground, and how we ourselves can be the detriment to our own way of living.
Us is another effort from Jordan Peele that has elevated the horror genre and is now among one of the best films I have seen in this decade. Not as political or culturally relevant as Get Out, but it stands on its own as a pure showcase of what horror films should strive to be more often than not.