US is most definitely a thinking person’s horror movie. That means, it helps to be a fan of the horror genre, to mitigate the horrors of having to watch the movie multiple times in order to catch all the nuances and subtext that writer/director Jordan Peele surely intends us to mull over for years to come. Despite all the raves for US, it’s important to keep its potential place in cinematic history in check. While I was certainly horrified and entertained by US, I liked Peele’s breakout hit Get Out more, because it managed to be shocking, provocative and entertaining without fitting into the classic mold of a horror movie (a genre that rarely appeals to me). Like Get Out, however, US benefits from a crazy-good acting ensemble. Most notable among them: Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Black Panther) who may just see herself nominated in the best actress category if we’re still talking about US come November.

There are plenty of spoilers to be found floating around the Internet, but US is best viewed with minimal information. The analysis should come afterward, among those who have seen it. In a nutshell, Nyong’o plays a woman named Adelaide who returns to her Northern California beachside childhood home along with her husband Gabe (Winston Duke, Black Panther) and their two kids (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) for what should be an idyllic summer vacation. Instead, they are confronted by a shadowy foursome that looks just like them, except they are dressed in red suits, carry giant gold scissors, and are determined to kill their counterparts. The actors all play dual roles, though only Adelaide’s doppelganger, Red, actually speaks. Nyong’o’s performance is certainly the most complex and captivating, but the supporting characters do help bring some cutting humor to the situation. So to speak. 😉

US is a supernatural horror home invasion movie that serves as allegory for society, putting a mirror up to ourselves. It’s a layered story that begins with a trauma from Adelaide’s past and ends with… well, I can’t say. Sleep well.

For additional discussion and debate about US, check out this edition of the Cinema Clash podcast:

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