This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Jenna Ipcar’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Eh, I don’t get the hype. This felt about as half baked as Okja—though not nearly as horrendous in its (equally unnecessary) tone shifts. The idea of the working class fighting each other instead of fighting the structure that keeps them downtrodden as a horror concept is a good one, it’s interesting, but I don’t feel like this film even fully believes in that as a message.
Instead this feels more like a rich man’s warning to his fellow rich friends to never truly trust the help. Because isn’t that what this amounts to in the end? That the help hates and loves you to the point that they’ll kill for you, or at least for the privilege of working for you, is creepy enough. Nobody benefits in the end, and no real lesson is learned—as displayed by the son’s fantasy.
The other problem here is that the rich family is far too dopey and empathetic to be viewed as horrific. That sex scene, for example, is pretty horrendously obnoxious—the idea that her role playing as a poor drug addict being a turn on—but she’s so damn doofy you don’t really feel the menace in it. You see Kim Ki-taek’s sea change of emotion as he slowly realizes the cycle he’s stuck in, but you don’t feel the force of the anger he later displays. Intellectually sure, emotionally no way. That the Parks care more about their own son than the bleeding help on their lawn isn’t really as emblematic of corruption as Bong Joon Ho is trying to make it out to be. Each family is shown equally defending their own—are we to judge the Parks more harshly for it? The whole movie felt like it cancelled itself out to just becoming a run of the mill horror-comedy. At least Us didn’t try to be anything other than what it was.
TL;DR Great acting, great looking movie, great first half, weird second half that doesn’t add up.