Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
NOTE: Some explanatory videos are listed below under SPOILERS. You have been warned.
In 1989 we’re introduced to a quiet little girl who follows her parents through a really great beachfront carnival. We watch her wander away from her thoughtless, narcissistic dad and eventually enter a “Funhouse” under a neon sign reading Find Yourself. Something really bad happens to the little girl inside.
Years later we’re introduced to a quiet woman on her way with her family to a vacation home on a beautiful lake. She has a slightly ridiculous but sweet husband, an earphone addicted adolescent daughter, and a quiet son who is never separated from his plastic gorilla mask. Mom really, really hates going to the beach. Something really bad happens to the woman and her family.
What a fun carnival ride we’re taken on with Jordan Peele’s newest film. Us is several types of films rolled seamlessly into each other, the wild ride beginning with the frightening home invasion seen in the trailer. To say anything about what happens next is a massive spoiler. Be prepared from some moments of humor. Jordan Peele understands that a great scare fest must be leavened with some chuckles if you want to keep an audience in their seat.
Us gives a discerning viewer several visual and thematic nods to other classic horror films and film types. Peele is both subtle and in your face with everything in the film. There is an ongoing motif of mirroring that you will eventually understand. The little girl is lost in the hall of mirrors, a real spider crawls out from under a large goofy plastic spider(which is actually a triple mirror image), an errant Frisbee lands exactly on top of a blanket’s circle decoration, and most importantly, Jeremiah 11:11. You’ll want to have that bible verse ready to read on your phone on leaving the theater. 11:11 is also a mirror image, as is another that you’ll recognize first as a mirror and then as a big nod to a classic horror image. Twin purpose, kinda like a mirror.
Lupita Nyong’o may pull a Kathy Bates on us next year and become only the second woman to win a Best Actress Oscar for a horror film. She was that good, in a film with no weak spots in the acting. She’s beautiful and sweet, and murderously insane in the other character she plays. She’s the tiniest, baddess ass woman in a horror movie since Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. Winston Duke, who looks a bit like director Jordan Peele, is the trying to be bad ass dad. The kids, Shahadi Joseph and Evan Alex are great, and their character development may surprise you. Elizabeth Moss plays mom’s friend, with a role that has more weight than you might think at first.
There are layers, and deeper meanings to everything that happens. You’ll find yourself thinking back to some trivial occurrence and after seeing the end of the film go, “OH! Now I get why that happened!” If you’re like me you’ll want to see it again knowing now what you didn’t know then. My favorite line of the movie? When dad says to the kids, “Your mom knows what she’s doing.” How often does that happen in Hollywood? And, it has a really deep meaning you won’t understand till later.
Us is a movie I recommend without reservation. Go and see this if you like gorgeous cinematography, a beautifully layered script, great acting, and just a bang up great horror film.
Us – Official Trailer [HD]