11:11 – ‘Us’ A Sign of More Good Things To Come From Peele (Movie Review)

UsThink about this. What if Us exists in our world to solely prove that the formidable sophomore slump does not apply to filmmaker Jordan Peele? It’s entirely quite possible! If Get Out proved that he didn’t need the training wheels on the bike anymore, then Us demonstrates he’s ready for Motorcross. Whoa there! Slow your motors! I normally don’t spill the beans in my reviews until paragraph three or four, but I can’t help it here. I was such a huge fan of Get Out that I was wildly whet with anticipation for Us and rightfully so. When that first trailer dropped are you telling me that Luniz’s song (“I Got 5 On It”) didn’t infect you like the person next to you on the plane blowing snot with flu-like symptoms? I thought so. Now that we’ve established a baseline with what to expect from the following paragraphs of praise (?) let’s talk about Us in much more detail (no spoilers).

Once again like Get Out Jordan Peele both writes and directs here with Us. The psychological “horror” film stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elizabeth Moss, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex and Tim Heidecker. I quoted the word horror before because that’s what Peele wants us to call his sophomore effort here, not a thriller. The movie made its debut at SXSW a few weeks ago here in Austin, TX and opened with thunderous applause and many accolades for directing, acting, cinematography and more. Heck some people even heralded it as the best horror movie ever (that’s going a bit too far though) and hailing Peele as this generation’s Hitchcock. Simply put the story of Us follows a family of four who are confronted with everyone’s worst nightmare…their own evil doppelgängers.

The film opens up in the past and pretty much lays the preliminary frame from which this story built upon. After the dark introduction and opening title we’re joined by the familiar cast in the movie’s trailers. In present times now we follow the familiar husband and wife from the trailers, Gabe (Duke) and Adelaide Wilson (Nyong’o), taking their two kids to their beach house. Adelaide just wants to spend some quiet downtime while the kids are severely missing the all too familiar wi-if signal. Furthermore, Gabe wants to see their friends (Heidecker and Moss). Seeing their friends though involves an all too familiar trip to the beach location we visited in the feature’s opening. Apologies about overusing the word “familiar,” but unconsciously I find myself subliminally typing it. After watching Us there’s probably a good reason for it too. You’ll find out!

You know how sometimes you just have a very bad feeling about a particular situation? Well that’s exactly where we find the character of Adelaide. She wants no part at all going to the beach, but does so out of love for her husband. After all, who can stand a whiny guy anyway? Am I right, women?! Anyway, chalk one up to superstition or a hunch because this is where things start to go awry for our family. Later that evening, as shown in the film’s trailers, the family is visited by another family that looks eerily like them both from afar and up close. This is why I used the term doppelgänger up above. Suddenly we find the family in a severe moment of peril because the imposter family is anything but kind spirited like our already familiar version of the family. Like at the end of Get Out I guess you can say things go bat crap crazy and both tension and chaos ensue for the rest of the movie’s runtime. You can call this what you want, but I dub this getting into the good parts.

Now I know I spent the better part of the first paragraph proverbially masturbating over my love for what Peele did in Get Out, the trailer for Us and whatnot, but here’s my honest assessment. I liked Get Out better than Us. For me the dialogue, quirky reveal, bonkers action sequences and tight wrap-up of Get Out sits with me better than the many questions raised by the conclusion of Us. That’s not to say there’s anything inherently wrong with Us, but I must admit I went in with wildly high expectations so that could play a small factor. Us is much like Get Out in the contextual pop culture space, but unlike the mostly straight narrative that unfolds with Get Out we’re subjected with many flashbacks throughout Us to get us ready for the Criminal Minds-like reveal I sensed was coming half way through. There really was no other place it could conceivably go and work without pissing folks off. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the constant banter, stereotypes, dark humor and many horror action scenes within Us. I ate those up! It’s just that I left without a lot of unanswered questions and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing I didn’t feel the satisfaction I did with the conclusion of Get Out.

Ultimately Us is a very ambitious film. There’s a nifty craft to the construction of it (soundtrack, cinematography, production value) filled with themes, questions and some social commentary. Sure there’s the horror and gory action elements to it, but for me Us is all about the performances. For the first time ever I can honestly say I’m a fan of Lupita. Not that she wasn’t good in 12 Years A Slave (those bright white teeth still bother me to this day), but she was absolutely fantastic to watch throughout here. Now getting back to the horror elements of Us I have to chuckle. There was a woman beside me at my screening and she covered her eyes during almost every tension filled moment and yelled at the screen at the intentional dumb mistakes the characters were making. Right there you know without a doubt that Jordan Peele executed spectacularly straight to the jugular. While there is much blood and gore I guess you can say the scariest part of Us is whether the notion of evil is within us or this is even plausible in the first place. Remember me saying I had a lot of questions? Well a lot of Us is spoon fed to you through flashbacks and its not a straight forward narrative like Get Out, but when you’re talking about potential sophomore slumps you can’t argue that Peele knocks it out of the proverbial ballpark here. Bam! Despite my minor complaints I actually can’t wait to see it again and examine it from all the angles which maybe my high expectations detoured me from in the first viewing. Enjoy!



Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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