A family’s serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.
Directors: Jordan Peele
Writers: Jordan Peele
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Drop, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon, Madison Curry
US is about you and I, it’s about the U.S and it’s about all of human civilization. Although Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out wore its theme on its sleeve and was transparent with its story of racism in America, US wears its theme with a thin-veil, but the most obvious thematic story being told is one of the working class in American, and ultimately the world over. And yeah, it’s scary.
The Wilson Family arrive at their lakeside house in Santa Cruz for Summer Holidays. Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) is slightly on edge as she had a scary incident occur on the beach there at a young age; Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) is full of energy for the holiday with his family; daughter Zora Wilson (Shahadi Wright Joseph) is not too bothered by the trip and spending most of her time looking at her phone and the youngest child, Jason Wilson (Evan Alex) is somewhat lost but seems happy for the family time. The family set up at their home before meeting up with their friends, the Tyler’s at the Santa Cruz beach, much to Adelaide’s dismay of attending the beach. The day-trip seems to go fine, but later that night as the family is getting ready for bed, four shadowy figures are standing hand-in-hand at the edge of their driveway. As they eventually crawl, climb and burst into the house and the terrorized Adelaide family clammer backwards into their home seeking safety they get to see their attackers faces, which match those of the Wilson families, but they look more worn, tortured and are all in matching jumpsuits.
US somewhat starts out like the 2008 film, The Strangers, which is the vibe I had previously got from trailers for the film. US isn’t anything like The Strangers though and it quickly escaped any tropes of influences I thought the film was going to cling too heavily to, including the 1997 film Funny Games, which is hard to not think about as the duplicate families sit in a room together and things begin to unfold.
Jordan Peele is at his utmost Kubrickian here as he litters the film with red herrings, foreshadowing and subtle and not-so-subtle story beats that play into the themes of the film. So many in fact, that I wanted to re-watch US pretty much straight after leaving the cinema. It’s absurd the number of things I was suddenly clicking on-to on the drive home, and I’m sure I’ve missed a lot. US is designed for multiple viewings, but it’s not to say the core plot requires it.
Lupita Nyong’o is phenomenal as she dances in the role of both the Mother wanting to protect her family and the disturbing and haunting Red, her duplicate who is at all points in the film nothing short of skin-crawling creepy. The rest of the cast similarly get to perform complete opposite characters. Gabe Wilson is a wise-cracking family man but Winston Duke looks about 10ft taller and 100 pounds scarier when he is playing Abraham, the giant figure sitting across from the Wilson family.