‘Get Out’ was great, and even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve heard of it, and know it’s both funny and scary. Jordan Peele also does a great job of entertaining the audience without emphasising the weight of the social injustice.
So watching ‘Us’, we can’t help but set expectations high, keeping our ears sharp and eyes wide open for all ‘Get Out’ had to offer.
Like ‘Get Out’, ‘Us’ is creative and playful, strange and horrifying, awkward and funny. The family feels imperfect, and human, and we can laugh with them. The beginning is a bit slow, but that time allows the characters to evolve. We all know those horror films where the characters start dying left, right and centre, and we don’t even care. This is not one of them.
Some scenes are creepy, but funny at the same time, because the absurdity of it is laughable. But when it feels like there is more room for comedy, suddenly something horrifying or human happens, and you feel those two crazy worlds connect.
At times, the acting feels over the top - using gimmicks/clichés to be ‘creepy’, but it can have the opposite effect. It’s actually scariest when the scary people are trying to be normal. Some scenes are just spot on for building tension. There is something fundamentally scary about trying to work out why something is happening, but when an explanation is suddenly dumped on us, we start to sympathise with the scary people, and a lot of the tension is lost.
The end is well worked, and nearly everything pieces together. Even this beautiful arial shot of the family at the beach has a reason. So at the end of the film you’re like ‘aha’!
It’s super fun browsing explanation videos on youtube after seeing the film - even if it is just film nerds looking for explanations to everything. But maybe the intention was to show enough to be suggestive, create sprouts of ideas, and leave the audience chatting about it afterwards. Because I bet a lot of people will see it and immediately google: ‘Us ending explained’.
Well I’m guilty of doing so.
Oh and, if you haven’t already, don’t watch the trailer. Unlike this review, it’s full of spoilers. Just embrace it as a new thing and take it in as it comes.