Guebert: “Us” is Jordan Peele’s full-length Twilight Zone

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Guebert: “Us” is Jordan Peele’s full-length Twilight Zone

Photo by Universal Pictures

Photo by Universal Pictures

Photo by Universal Pictures

Photo by Universal Pictures

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out is one of the finest films of the 21st century thus far. It’s a flawless look into what it’s like to be black in America blended with the horrors of a terrifying situation. Ever since Peele announced his sophomore outing with Us, the hype train has been chugging ahead at full speed.

My theatre was actually sold out when I saw it, and the three other added screenings the same night were almost completely or completely full as well. People were pumped for this film, and the high Rotten Tomatoes score and online love prior to its release were just adding to the excitement.

For me, Us plays out like a full length episode of The Twilight Zone. The concept comes into play rather quickly and the shocks and scares never let up.

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However, just like the show, which Peele is rebooting for CBS All Access in a week, Us executes its storyline with sheer perfection but never really explains anything which goes on.

I’m still undecided on if this works for or against the film. The first half of the film builds up so many questions leave you invested in the film and what we get as an end result leaves so much up to the audience that it doesn’t quite feel satisfying.

Most of the audience figured out the “big twist” ending within the first 15 minutes. One could argue Get Out’s twists were also predictable, but there was still enough there to shock us and help us understand this world better.

This isn’t to say Us is a bad movie, either. Jordan Peele has achieved perfection as a director and the editing helps the movie’s pace stay exactly where it needs to be. Plus, the opening sequence is so good and engrossing it immediately brings you into this terrifying and weird reality which Peele has created.

Lupita Nyong’o pulls double duty (along with the entire cast) playing different and terrifying versions of themselves. Her performance reminds me a lot of Toni Collette’s in Hereditary, another recent horror flick which leaves a lot to the audience to interpret.

Full of terror and love, Nyong’o jumps off the screen and elevates the film, making you really care about everything which is happening, especially when you don’t understand it.

Winston Duke brings comedic chops exactly when the film needs it. The child cast also amaze, and hopefully both will get more work after this film is over.

As a close friend to Nyong’o and Duke’s family, Elisabeth Moss brings a supporting performance filled with both humor and horror. The score and soundtrack are also both insanely good, bringing more suspense to an already terrifying story.

Sophomore slumps are very common for filmmakers and screenwriters, especially if their first film is as highly regarded as Get Out was. And Us is no Get Out. It lacks something – perhaps requires multiple viewings.

Despite the lack of mystery and the overall lackluster vibe the third act of the film gives off, Us demands to be seen. It’s a perfect blend of horror and comedy with performances which elevate the film above its flaws.

Something is missing, whether it be full explanation for the events or just a simple hint to help the audience understand what is going on and how everything fits together.

Us is like a puzzle with one missing piece. You still get the entire picture and appreciate it for what it is, but it still isn’t complete without the last piece to make the entire picture come to life and understand exactly what it is that the film wants you to see.

Staff reporter Kyler Guebert can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @kguebert88.

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