Us’ begins in the modest 1986 setting when amusement parks on American beaches came with all sorts of funny and mysterious games. In them, was always a dingy fun house with a maze of mirrors that can leave you more terrified than amused. Writer-Director Jordan Peele sets the stage for a mystery thriller right from the start, taking us into his make-believe world of unnerving possibilities. Along the way he also drops subtle hints about the film’s layered narrative that points towards many uncomfortable truths about the world we live in. Pay attention to them.
Peele’s storytelling is masterfully unhinged in its execution to accommodate his unique vision.
The central theme of the film is gradually unraveled in a disturbing narrative that requires constant suspension of disbelief.
Film’s writing is peppered with organic humour that often serves as a natural respite from high tension. The background score adds to the overall impact. While there are a few jumpscares for those looking for regular horror gimmicks, a large part of spookiness comes from its extended metaphor.
However, what works without any ambiguity is the rock solid performance by the Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o. She single handedly conveys bulk of the emotions that range from instilling the fear to expressing it. Dressed in the red jumpsuit as the menacing doppleganger from the group called ‘The Tethered’ she is delectably frightening. Winston Duke’s character is endearing as he tries to be a hero for his family. He does well within the limitation of his relatively underwritten role.
There are a few nagging questions that remain unexplained despite many cryptic references, which is bound to leave you frustrated, especially, if you miss some of the clues thrown in earlier. But Peele’s conviction comes together in the climax, as he makes a final revelation that could lead to a catastrophic new world order.
‘Us’ is as refreshing as it is perplexing. As the director takes you into the eerie world of his protagonist, he attempts to marry deep rooted sociopolitical issues with cinematic horrors, and eventually leaves you with some food for thought. This is not your staple horror fare, but a more evolved riddle of an imaginary dark world that might just be a reality. Think again!