My Favorite Movies – Us (2019)

13 Oct

By Tanner Smith

I was talking with a friend recently about why I enjoy Jordan Peele’s films, and my reason for it just came to me–it’s because they represent the best of two different types of horror films we often see in terms of pure terror. Does he want to make a piece of mainstream entertainment in the horror genre? Or does he want to make a more sophisticated, artistic, allegorical film?

He does them both. If you want to analyze Get Out and Us, you can. If you want to be entertained, you can. It’s the best of both worlds.

“Get Out” was my favorite film of 2017, so I was excited to see how Peele’s next film would turn out. From the trailer, I could see that it was another horror film and details were left thankfully vague. I didn’t want to be like those people who were so excited to see M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” because of how much they loved “The Sixth Sense,” only to be let down because, guess what, they expected another “Sixth Sense” and it wasn’t another “Sixth Sense” because it’s was freaking “Unbreakable” which is freaking awesome and– My point is I tried not to overhype myself for “Us” because I knew it wasn’t going to be “Get Out.”

If “Get Out” is in my top 100, then Us is probably in my top 200-300 (which still means I think it’s pretty great).

Peele knows the horror genre is perfect for the concept of allegory in fable, like a cautionary tale or a morality tale or a social commentary or whatever. What do the “Tethered” doubles in “Us” represent? I think it’s safe to deduce that it’s about the haves and the have-nots fighting themselves.

You have the father, Gabe (Winston Duke, amazing here), showing off his newly-purchased boat and pushing his family to go hang out on the beach with wealthier friends. You see the fancy devices of those same friends failing them in a darkly funny, ironic way. You listen to what the Tethered, particularly Red (who’s the only one that speaks), has experienced and how it’s a dark, twisted parallel to what all these people have experienced. And then, you put it all together after the remarkably brilliant ending and you have this beautifully twisted horror film that provokes thought and discussion.

Just like “Get Out.” But for different reasons, which I was more than thankful for.

My favorite scene: the entire home-invasion sequence that starts off the central terror for our key characters is wonderfully done. From Winston Duke’s hilarious attempts at trying to resolve the issue before it starts, to Red’s horrifying story she shares with the family, to everyone’s individual battles with their Tethered selves, to the resolution that makes you sigh with relief (except we know it’s far from over…). It’s all just an example of great filmmaking. If I had to pick an individual scene from this entire section of the film, I guess it’d have to be Red’s story because of how well Lupita Nyong’o plays it.

Now I want to tell this story:

I know a person (who will be anonymous) who is very picky about the movies she chooses to watch, meaning she doesn’t particularly care for horror films. The day after I saw “Us” in a theater, I told her about it and she didn’t care at all what I say and then proceeded to give her own theory about what she was so certain happened in it without having seen it…I then told her, “That’s not what happens at all.” Going against my better judgment, I gave away all the secrets of the film to her, and then to my astonishment, she replied, “Wow…that sounds really interesting!”

Later, she told me that she did see the movie and that it was one of her favorites of the year.

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