by G. Brown
Jordan Peele rocked Hollywood when his first film “Get Out” tackled racism as the horror story that it truly is. While “Get Out” got under our skin, Peele’s latest movie “Us” gets in our heads.
Peele’s latest offering owned the weekend box office raking in over $70 million dollars opening weekend. At a time when we’re used to seeing Marvel’s superheroes dominate with at least twice that amount on opening weekend, Peele still managed some heroic feats of his own. “Us” doubled down on predecessor “Get Out” opening weekend ($33 million). And the film beat out “Captain Marvel” which held the number one spot for three weeks in a row.
Critics are calling Jordan’s sophomore film “stunning“(Chris Hewitt-‘Empire’) and “funny, freaky, and thrilling all at once“(Sandy Schaefer ‘Screen Rant’).
“Us” stars “Black Panther” alums Lupita Nyong’o and Wintson as a married couple whose family vacation turns into a nightmare when their doppelgangers show up not only looking like them but ready to kill to become them. It’s a modern spin of sorts on an old classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.
While the film will leave horror fans happily looking over their shoulders for the next couple of weeks, the most haunting memory of the film is in the subtext. My 14-year old nephew loved the film and walked away with the message not to let the world turn us into something we’re not. From the mouth of babes as they say.
Spin a day on social media or leave the 24-hour news channel blathering on too long and you can start to feel the weight of the world crushing the soul out of you—the craziness that is the nation’s capital, the vitriolic discourse on Twitter, the constant and random violence like a 78 year old woman being stomped and kicked by a fellow NY subway passenger who says he feared for his life. It’s a daily meat grinder of mean, nasty reminders that the world is often a mean, nasty place.
But Peele presents us with allegory in the fun house mirrors that we can use to see the reflection of who we really are. Are we the fine, respectable, kind people we believe ourselves to be or are we deep down the despicable, murderous, jealous, covetous versions of ourselves that we try to keep hidden in the shadows?
Kudos to Peele for going in deep again and giving us something to think about. The first time it was the world around us, but this time, it’s a journey inward. And seeing the real “Us” can be way more horrifying than what we see in others.