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Us



Two years ago, writer/director Jordan Peele shocked the film world with his genre busting thriller "Get Out". Two years later he proves he's no one-trick pony with his excellent sophomore effort, US.

One of the most unsettling movies I've seen in recent memory, US weaves a suspenseful, bloody horror story with perfect splashes of comedy.

We first meet young Adelaide Wilson as she wonders away from her argumentative parents at a seaside carnival, stumbling into a trick mirror funhouse and an event that changes her forever.

We then move forward to present day, as grown up Adelaide (an incredible Lupita Nyong'o) and her husband Gabe (the perfect comic relief of Winston Duke from "Black Panther") take their two children to their summer vacation house.

Their daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason (Evan Alex) are at the age where their parents are never cool and the beach house's lack of wi-fi is their biggest concern.

Their vacation goes south when they see a family of four standing in their driveway, holding hands. Clad in red overalls, the family looks impossibly like them. A terrifying home invasion takes place.

But what follows from that point will be left unsaid. Peele has a lot more on his mind with US than a simple home invasion thriller. Much more.

Events echoing back to 1984 spin in and out of the story, with Peele ratcheting up the suspense and blood as he goes, until you're on the edge of your seat with no idea where you're headed.

Like "Get Out" you could spend hours discussing the larger issues that lie beneath the story, from social class and unseen elements of the population to the duplicity of our true selves. Peele lays it all out in front of you like the sharp corners of a roller coaster, pulling you forward, deeper and deeper down his rabbit hole. Only afterward do you have time to ponder the sub-layers of the events.

I wasn't anticipating the ending, but it played really well for me, making me want to go back and see it again, knowing what I knew by the time the final haunting shot faded to black.

Nyong'o is fantastic. Like Toni Collette in last summer's horror thriller "Hereditary", her performance lifts the entire film into something far beyond horror.

The entire scene in which the family sits across from their doppelgangers inside the house is flawless, from Nyong'o's terrifying other voice to the mirrored ticks of each family member's personality.

Michael Abels creates almost 90 minutes of music for the film. It's far from traditional and very good, spiking the scares and tightening the suspense at all the right moments.

This isn't one of those "look out a cat's going to jump up in the window" kind of horror films. US is built on a foundation of slow building understanding of what is actually going on with and around this family. As each new reveal of awareness is peeled back, the scares get bigger, the violence gets bloodier and you sit further forward on the edge of your seat.

Throw in allusions to bible versus, numerology and some very clever camerawork and you've got the #1 horror film opening of all time.

It'richly deserved. Peele's the real deal and US becomes an instant horror classic that gets an A+ and another Peele spot in my all-time Top 100.


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