Us (2019) — Doppelgangers rise up to replace humanity

“They won’t stop until they kill us… or we kill them.”

Justin’s rating: :gnitar s’nitsuJ

Justin’s review: I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that half of the comedic group Key & Peele has become this nearly overnight horror director maestro. Having seen Jordan Peele goof it up under many, many wigs, he’s not the first person I’d think of when it comes to intelligent, creative scary movies. But it’s hard to deny the results, as Get Out and Us both became acclaimed modern masterpieces, and I figured I should get on board before the train leaves me entirely.

At the start of Us, a little girl named Addy goes to a carnival, where she encounters a strange lookalike waiting deep in the funhouse. Years later as an adult, Addy (Lupita Nyong’o) goes on a vacation with her family, only to encounter more of these doppelgangers popping up all over the place. And they’re not the “I’ll be your new best friend” kind of clones, either.

With people being replaced by the dopplegangers — “Tethered,” as they’re somehow connected to their human twins — Addy and her family have to figure out what’s exactly going on, escape this bizarre uprising, and hang on to their identity. Not necessarily in that order.

Since I’m not in the business of spoiling the reveals here, I’ll just say that there are explanations for the Tethered that venture into the realm of outright scifi. It’s up to you to decide if it’s even in the least plausible (no, it’s not) or makes the movie more thought-provoking (yes, it does). It’s also one of those movies that film classes will no doubt love to analyze its themes and pick apart symbolism until it stops being fun in the least. Me? I prefer to enjoy it in the shallow end of the critic pool.

And Us is certainly a great piece of entertainment. It’s scary, yes, but also funny, fiendishly well-made, and even dabbles in the apocalypse. The “monsters” are alien yet familiar and have their own backstory that actually opens the door to sympathizing with them… to a degree.

Even in light of all of the overwhelming praise that this movie garnered, I’m strictly middle-of-the-road on Us. A good bulk of it is, honestly, boring home invasion-style suspense stuff, and I can’t ignore how very silly the explanation for the Tethered is. It’s still quite good overall, and definitely different than your normal scary movie fare, but it’s certainly not perfect.

Didja notice?

  • The 1986 Hands Across America commercial — FORESHADOWING
  • “Find Yourself” sign
  • Mirrors not doing what they should do will never not be frightening
  • That main theme song is a banger
  • The family holding hands in the car decal — FORESHADOWING
  • The little boy wearing the mask
  • “You don’t need the internet, you got the outernet!”
  • “I forgot, nobody cares about the end of the world.”
  • “You’re scaring the kids!” “Too late!”
  • The funny Home Alone conversation

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