Is Us a horror film or a comedy? I don’t really know, but it’s certainly an interesting experience.
I was all ready to be terrified when I sat down to watch Jordan Peele’s newest creation, so imagine my surprise when I found myself laughing the whole way through. Us possesses a disturbing sense of humor, and while the wit is sharp and biting, it also somewhat detracts from the horror and makes the scares fare less effective as a result.
So what’s the hook? A family of four, led by Lupita Nyong’o, come face to face with their evil doppelgängers, and hijinks ensue. Peele’s film is definitely creative, and it’s never boring, but it’s also unsure what it wants to be. It tries to be both scary and funny, and yet it only moderately succeeds at both. Thankfully, Lupita’s performance is absolutely astounding; she does an immaculate job of bringing to life two wholly distinct versions of her character that you forget she’s basically acting opposite herself. It’s such a mind-blowing turn, down to every mannerism and vocal inflection.
Us also employs a bombshell of a twist (that I won’t spoil here) towards the end of its runtime. It’s a thought-provoking development that undeniably positions the film in a different light. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late and I’m not entirely sure it really works upon closer inspection.
Shockingly enough, it’s The Handmaid Tale‘s very own Elisabeth Moss who rivals Nyongo’o’s performance. It’s not the kind of role you’re used to seeing from the actress, and she easily steals every one of her scenes. It’s a true shame she doesn’t get more screen-time.
An ambitious but highly-flawed horror-comedy hybrid. It’s worth watching for Lupita’s astounding performance, but the rest of the film can’t live up to her talent.