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“Us” movie review

As much as I’d like to avoid it, it’s impossible to talk about “Us” without mentioning Peele’s 2016 debut “Get Out.” Elevating Peele to a household name, it established him as more than a comedian with a camera. Peele barged in the industry with some stuff to say, and we were gonna have to accept it. And accept it we did. Every horror fan with a pulse was awaiting Peele’s sophomore effort. “Us” not only proves that Peele has more in him, it further establishes him as one of the most unique voices in mainstream film.
“Us” follows a family haunted by their less fortunate duplicates. Lupita Nyong’o plays Adelaide Wilson, a mom haunted by an encounter with her double from years prior. Old fears reignite when her family decides to return to the beach where the encounter took place.
So much lurks under the surface in “Us.” Peele builds up so much dread that all pays off throughout the explosive second and third acts. Michael Abels returns for the overture, and his bassy score does a great job at hinting at evil lurking under the surface. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in the film’s dark atmosphere.
Every performance is great, especially with the majority having to play two characters at once. Nyong’o especially shows incredible range as both the tortured protagonist and menacing antagonist. Her character’s husband Gabe Wilson, played by Winston Duke, is both a hilariously cheesy dad and freaky barbarian. The children, played by Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex, are also fantastic, and Tim Heidecker and Elizabeth Moss give career bests. The standout performance for me was Madison Curry, who played Adelaide as a young girl. Her facial expressions at some key points are burned in my brain forever.
“Us” has plenty of secrets and proves that Peele is only getting started. Sometimes the film can even overwhelm itself in its own bravado. Peele does a fantastic job of dangling the carrot in front of “Us,” painfully peeling back every layer of this twisted world. It’s another solid effort from one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming greats, and you’ll want to see it on the big screen while you can. Plus, it’ll forever change how you hear the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.”
Final verdict: ★★★★☆

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