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Us

By Joanna Langfield

Make of it what you will – and Jordan Peele gives us a whole lot to play with here- this horror is, at its most basic, tantalizing fun.

Maybe this ambitious story of a woman whose childhood demons come back to haunt her isn’t as focused or seething as was Peele’s tremendous ‘Get Out’, but you can’t blame a guy for trying. Using, as he did previously, the genre to not just scare the pants off us, but also make us think about a thing or two, his work does elevate horror.  Don’t @ at me. Yes, I’ve read Twitter and I know we’re “not supposed” to use that term, but Peele is upping the game here and for those of us who want more power behind the punch, this is a good thing.

Also  good? The actors bringing this multifaceted tale to life. Young Shahadi Wright and Evan Alex are terrific, as are Tim Heidecker and a grand Winston Duke as husbands who, let’s be honest, never really grew up. Elizabeth Moss, as usual, makes the absolute most out of every second she’s on screen, but it’s Lupita Nyong’o who’s the heart and soul, warmth and terror.  As every cast member does, she plays two roles, the wife and mother Adelaide, as well as her doppelganger, another wife and mother whose agenda might be guessed earlier than the filmmaker intended.

Or maybe it won’t. Maybe there are audiences perfectly happy to watch as this good people tyrannized by bad people story unfolds. Maybe they are just in it for the popcorn and the screams. They’ll be happy. But for those of us nagged by the feeling Peele isn’t offering just that, and racking our brains to figure out each and every social message he’s slipped in, we’ve got some rewards and frustrations, too. Either way, Us is big, bold and sure to keep you on the edge of whatever you choose.

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