Us ★★★★

I've got some issues with Us. I wish more filmmakers could figure out how to juggle horror and humour without one undermining the other, and I wish we could abolish the use of third act exposition dumps (both verbal and visual) that only serve to convey how little faith the studios have in the intelligence of their audiences. A couple of the narrative developments don't necessarily aid the themes that the film is exploring and vice versa, at least by my current interpretation of the film which is entirely susceptible to change as more people talk about the film and it continues to dwell in my mind.

But....I think I kind of loved it? And more than that, I think I kind of love Jordan Peele too. Not so much for his films as much as it is for his personality and his genuine love of horror. Us is essentially a tense yet goofy home invasion thriller that finds itself expanding conceptually as the film goes on, as the scope of the film continues to grow larger than anticipated. His influences come from strange places and aren't subtle, nor do they really need to be. This is probably the only film in existence to make a relevant homage to C.H.U.D. and the family beach scene is very reminiscent of Jaws without flat out ripping it off (which pleased the Jaws fan in me immensely). He's not interested in "elevating" the genre like it seems some of the current crop of a24 era filmmakers insist on doing. If I recall correctly, in his recent appearance in the great documentary Horror Noire, Peele at one point simply says that he makes films he'd want to be watching in a cinema, and it just happens to be that the films he wants to be watching seem to be quickly finding their places in the cultural zeitgeist.

You get the idea, I love Peele and his passion for horror. Maybe that elevates my opinion of the film itself more than it deserves, I don't know. It's well shot, it's tightly paced for the most part, the score is wonderful, the performances are great, particularly from Lupita Nyong'o. There are two fantastic set pieces, one involving The Beach Boys and one involving fire, that might be reason enough for me to consider giving it a rewatch in the near future. I've seen some very aggressively mixed opinions on the film but I clearly enjoy it more than some of my friends did. Give me more solid, ambitious genre films helmed by people with talent and passion thanks!!

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