Us is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that has a played out plot that does not smoothly come together at the end. WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead!
The good news is, Us delivers on its promise to freak you out IF you can get past the confusion.
The movie starts off with a flashback to the 80’s where we see a small Adelaide at the boardwalk with her parents trying to have some fun. There is obvious tension between her mom and dad and one moment of inattention leads to her wandering off and seeing something that terrifies her.
Next we see Adelaide all grown up, with a family of her own, headed off to the same summer home and boardwalk that traumatized her as a child. There is some weak dialogue between her and her husband Gabe who seems to be the goofy fun loving guy who just wants to have fun but Adelaide can’t seem to relax which is completely lost on Gabe. It is here that her unease manages to transfer to the viewer, which makes the opening a little less boring.
What I didn’t like was the “government experiment gone wrong” that was supposedly just abandoned because it failed. I feel like if the Tethered had their own mysterious origin story then the movie might have actually been scary. The concept was fascinating but the lack of details left giant holes in the story.
The dialogue between the actors leading up to the nighttime visit seemed generic and was so bland, I honestly thought that I was going to hate the movie.
Having said that, when Lupita Nyong’o walks into the room as Red you don’t care anymore. She is phenomenal. Her wide empty eyes, the voice that sounds like she is from the deepest pit, her facial expressions and her movements are terrifying. Her performance was Oscar worthy and with any luck we will see her at least nominated. Gabe (played by Winston Duke) was sometimes annoying and clearly comfortable with Adelaide taking charge and protecting the family.
What I did like was the musical score; the opening song was one that I think will be remembered for a long time (think Jaws and Halloween). It was so tense and chilling, it reminded me of The Omen.
The entire cast blew my mind but Elizabeth Moss and Shahadi Wright Joseph stood out to me because their performances were absolutely stellar. Moss plays Kitty, the unhappy housewife to the insufferable husband Josh. She doesn’t make her unhappiness a secret and she seems to make Adelaide even more uncomfortable as she drunkenly complains about it. When she becomes Dahlia though, she transforms into a truly frightening monster.
I finished the movie feeling incomplete, but I did like because of the incredible acting. It definitely fits into the thriller genre but it’s not without its flaws. It had some brutality but not on the horror level and while freaky it wasn’t scary.
I think Jordan Peele did a fantastic job directing this and his ability to bring out the very best in his actors is clear in this movie. No matter how I feel about script, the near perfect cast made this movie great. I hope he has more to tell. I look forward to a sequel or, dare I say… prequel?