Jordan Peele’s “Us” kills opening weekend


Jennifer Walker

Jordan Peele’s “Us” premiered March 22.

Megan Messer and Miguel Blanco

Jordan Peele’s second stab at directing and producing a horror film came in the form of “Us”, starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss. The movie opened March 22, to great critical and commercial success, grossing $33,229,640 in its opening weekend, all while earning a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie follows Adelaide (Nyong’o) and her family as they take a summer vacation to her childhood home in Santa Cruz, California. After experiencing a horrifying traumatic event as a child, Adelaide becomes increasingly suspicious that an evil force is once again returning to wreak havoc on her life. Her worst fears become realised when disturbed versions of all of the family members hold them hostage. The family is forced to fight off their doppelganger counterparts in order to survive, and soon make a bigger and even more terrifying discovery.

Peele went above and beyond to capture “Us” when collaborating with Cinematographer Mike Gioulakis, who created eerie and unsettling images that kept the audience on edge throughout the film. One of the most disturbing scenes happened just before the film’s climax is when Adelaide fights her counterpart and the camera switches to a flashback of a younger version of her shadow dancing like a ballerina in an empty hallway.

Peele uses the winning formula from his first film, while also ensuring that “Us” retains its own character.”

— Megan Messer & Miguel Blanco

This scene made the overall buildup of the film much more exciting and suspenseful, and successfully kept viewers feeling anxious. Aside from Gioulakis’ superb camera skills, the overall soundtrack made the film just as, if not more, creepy and spine-chilling. Most of the music was produced by Michael Abels, but also included the tracks “I Got 5 On It” by Luniz and “Les Fleurs” by Minnie Riperton. The original twentieth century hip-hop by Luniz added a whole new element of creepy since it was not expected by anyone watching.

Fans of Peele’s work thus far will be sure to recognize many similarities between his first ambitious horror project “Get Out” (2017), and the equally successful and more recent “Us” (2019). Fans will be pleased to see that Peele’s dedication to creating a captivating narrative while also maintaining focus on subtle details has not faded over the past two years. There are numerous easter eggs placed throughout the film that observant movie-goers will be sure to enjoy, and the film is definitely suited for multiple viewings. The main difference that separates the two films comes in the form of the setting. Rather than simply focusing the plot on one household as many slasher movies have done in the past, Peele chooses to expand the setting and plot of “Us” to encompass the entire nation. Ultimately, this allows for “Us” to be more unsettling than its predecessor, as you may find yourself checking the rear view mirror of your car for a mirrored version of yourself.

If you enjoyed “Get Out,” then you will certainly enjoy “Us.” Peele uses the winning formula from his first film, while also ensuring that “Us” retains its own character. If you get the chance, you will definitely want to experience this pleasantly unsettling film on the big screen at your nearest theater.