New thriller “Us” leaves audience with chills and questions

Mara Farese

“We are connected to evil whether we face it on a daily basis or not. Maybe we are our own worst enemy,” Jordan Peele said in an interview with the Today Show about his recent film, “Us.”

In Peele’s new thriller, Adelaide Wilson (played by Lupita Nyong’o) takes her family back to the beach town where she grew up, and apprehension builds as she suspects something is wrong. Her suspicions are proven when four masked strangers attack them at their house. The intruders are quickly discovered to have the same appearances as her own family, hence the name “Us.”

Nyong’o shines as a pivotal character in this movie. Her outstanding performance truly brought the mystery and horror embedded in this film to life. Nyong’o has also been featured in “Black Panther” and “12 Years a Slave,” and she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the 2014 Oscars. Her role as a main character in “Us” brought out her raw acting talent, a strength that was not highlighted in her previous films. Alongside Lupita Nyong’o, “Us” features Elisabeth Moss (from Hulu’s “Handmaid’s Tale”), Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex. These actors performed exceptionally well and made the movie feel like a reality. Peele, the writer, director and producer of “Us,” previously won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2018 for his work on horror film, “Get Out.” His clever thinking made this movie the great film it is, and we can expect to see more movies from him in the future

“Us” demanded my attention as well as the attention of the whole theater, as simultaneous laughter, screams and viewers saying, “Don’t do it!” showed that interest levels from the audience maintained at a steady and rather high rate. Towards the beginning of the movie, there were cheerful scenes of the family taking a road trip, listening to music and playing around in their house. I enjoyed the contrast Peele incorporated to make the rest of the dark movie feel terribly spontaneous. The plot takes a turn for the worst the night they return from Santa Cruz beach, where Nyong’o’s flashback from the beginning took place. That night is packed full of action, and the movie only spans over the course of about 24 hours, even though it was a two-hour long movie. However, I felt that the intensity throughout the movie made it feel shorter.

The movie us incorporates masks to reinforce the idea of doppelgängers.

The music in the movie consisted of only a few actual songs, such as “I Like That” by Janelle Monae, “I Got 5 On It” by Luniz, “Vibrations” by the Beach Boys and “F**k tha Police” by N.W.A. Peele also incorporated eerie violins in the background of portions of the film. The otherwise silence during the movie gave it a creepier vibe, which kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. The more cheerful songs were ironic as some were played right before or during very dark, twisted scenes, which intrigued myself and the audience. The actors in this movie played the complex roles of both their characters in the movie and their doppelgängers, two very contrasting personalities, but still performed extremely well. The actors for this movie were obviously carefully selected, as not every actor could perform this task as well as this cast did.

Throughout the movie, Peele incorporated lots of symbolism and foreshadowing to add to the complexity of the film. Connections are realized as the movie comes to a close, but the end of the film leaves viewers in a baffled state, and audience members are left to decipher and infer the intricate plot twists on their own. When I was exiting the theater, many of the people around me were voicing questions about the conclusion that I was battling on my own, which made for excellent conversation starters.

Earning a well-deserved 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the acting, plot and the film itself were excellent, and “Us” is a must-see horror for anyone seeking a genuine thrill.