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A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.
In order to get away from their busy lives, the Wilson family takes a vacation to Santa Cruz, California with the plan of spending time with their friends, the Tyler family. On a day at the beach, their young son Jason almost wanders off, causing his mother Adelaide to become protective of her family. That night, four mysterious people break into Adelaide's childhood home where they're staying. The family is shocked to find out that the intruders look like them, only with grotesque appearances.
I've been looking forward to doing this review for a while now. I'd been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jordan Peele's "Us" ever since his previous work left me absolutely speechless with my jaw on the floor when the final credits began to roll.
That was a film from a director who had mostly been involved in cable comedy shows before this. How easily he not only made the transition from that to offering us a film that was not only really good but could easily stand the test of time and wind up a part of pop culture was mind-blowing. Jordan Peele did the unthinkable by this and did it with the skill of a master filmmaker.
I had my doubts about whether his second offering could even come close to that. We've all seen it happen before. They come out of the gates guns a blazing but run completely out of gas by the second movie. Turns out those fears were completely unfounded.
Not only is "Us" just as good as "Get Out", It very well just might be better, in my honest opinion and that's not an easy feat to pull off. "Get Out" set the bar very high. "Us" matched it with relative ease and ended up being one of those movies you immediately want to watch again, just to see what exactly it was you missed.
(I'll attempt to give you a brief synopsis without giving away any spoilers here. A film like this, that would be unforgivable.)
It opens with a nostalgic backstory segment set in the '80s that I truly wished would have lasted longer, simply because of how spot on it was. A family goes to a carnival on a beach next to an ocean for a little family fun. During the course of this, a little girl gets separated from her family and finds herself inside of an old house of mirrors as a result. It's here that she meets a young girl who looks exactly like her. Something happens that is never completely clear right away and she ends up traumatized as a result.
We flash forward to the little girl as an adult. She is now married with two children of her own. A boy and a girl. They are moving to a beach house not far from where she lived as a child. We can see the apprehension on her face at this, but her family seems to be excited.
The first day there, the husband insists they go to the same carnival she went to as a child. You can see the fear in her eyes that she is trying to keep hidden from everyone. She hasn't told anyone what happened that day but hasn't forgotten at all.
Her young son runs off to investigate something and winds up seeing his own doppelganger for a brief second. He's left unsettled by this and his mother runs after him in a panic when she notices he is gone. Back together, they go back to their house and this is when the film makes a sharp right turn into nightmare material.
The family is beset upon by a family of murderous scissor-wielding doppelgangers that look just like them. The appear hell-bent on killing everyone and taking their place and will stop at nothing to do so.
And this is where my plot synopsis segment ends. To say any more would be doing you a huge disservice. This is a film that deserves to be seen for yourself.
The performances were absolutely outstanding and the direction and cinematography were spot on. But the acting deserves special praise here. Not only did they fully flesh out their characters, but also played their evil counterparts who may have looked the same are much more sinister and evil.
Winston Duke plays the part of the husband with style, fully embodying all the character's quirks and nuances without seeming cartoonish. Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex play the children as real people and not stereotypical templates of what these characters should be. But when these actors are playing the doppelgangers, they manage to chill you to the bone with their evil stares and smiles as they creep through the shadows, scissors in hand, to satisfy their lust for blood.
The true standout role of this film, with no doubts whatsoever, is Lupita Nyong'o as the film's lead Adelaide. The entire film she puts in a performance that leaves you on edge. You can tell something is wrong, but are unable to put your finger on what it is. You can't tell if it's years of anxiety and therapy from her childhood experience or something far more sinister. This is not a phoned-in performance. Lupita embodies this character completely and the film is so much better as a result of this.
But when she is playing the doppelganger Red, who appears to be the de-facto leader of these doppelgangers is where she really shines. The hoarse, raspy voice she delivers her lines with and looks of underlying unbridled rage in her eyes make her one of the most chilling horror movie villains I have seen in years. She comes across as the kind of person who would kill someone without a moments thought and not even think twice about it. This really sucks you into the plot and leaves you dying to know what made her this way.
So in closing, I must give this film my highest rating to 5 stars. Everything was absolutely top notch and the twist ending holds up well on a second viewing. It's the kind of film you put on for your friends who have never seen it and watch them with a large grin when the realization hits them. It's been a really long time since a movie has done that for me.
Do yourself a favor and see this film soon. You'll thank me later.
Reviewed by Scooby
1 hour 56 minutes
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated R for violence/terror, and language.
22 March 2019 (USA)
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