Peele’s US Holds a Dark Mirror to American!!!
First Name Tom, Last Name Foolery… And I’m Everybody’s Uncle!
Especially the actors in this horror movie... US.
Jordan Peele has tightened his grip in “Us,” a less satirical & more slaughterhouse horror parable than the writer-director’s astonishing debut, “Get Out,” that despite its deficiencies will leave all who enter its shadowy world convinced of Peele’s growing command as a singular conjurer of American nightmares.
It’s a movie moment to savor. When was the last time a filmmaker’s sophomore release was greeted with such anticipation? It’s as if Peele struck such a deep and rich vein in “Get Out” that no one can wait to see what else he’ll uncover. Peele has found a new passageway into American psychology, & we’re all waiting outside the mine for him to call out from the dark with his latest revelation.
In “Us,” Peele has produced a terrifying artifact: a sinister ballet of doppelgangers & inversions that makes flesh the unseen underbelly lurking beneath every sunny American dream & behind every contented nuclear family. It’s a scissor-sharp rebuke to anyone who’s ever held hands & sang “Kumbaya.”
“Us” begins on images of one such moment of supposed unity: Hands Across America, that wholesome ’80s experiment in linking arms across the country. It’s seen on an old TV screen with VHS tapes of “Goonies” & “C.H.U.D.” leaning against it. Later, when the Wilson family takes a vacation near Santa Cruz, California, they look out of their window at night & see the ominous silhouettes of a hand-holding family just like themselves outside on the driveway.
Their appearance is eerie to all: the mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), the father Gabe (Winston Duke) & their two kids, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) & Jason (Evan Alex). But it’s Adelaide who most immediately recognizes the danger. The Santa Cruz boardwalk is where she, as a young child, wandered into a carnival tent’s hall of mirrors to find herself face-to-face with her exact double.
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By: Jack Coyle