RELEASE DATE: March 22, 2019
MPAA RATING: R (for violence/terror, and language)
With the film “Us,” writer/producer/director Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) brings us a thriller that is downright terrifying. Critics frequently describe “on the edge of my seat” film experiences, and with this film I was literally on the edge of my seat during several scenes. While I didn’t lose any sleep after viewing “Us,” it did stay with me for some time.
Bay Area residents will enjoy the setting for the movie, since much of it was filmed on location at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is essential to the story (although I’m unconvinced this was the Boardwalk’s best PR move, given the character body count depicted at the seaside amusement park by the end of the film).
The premise involves a woman named Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) whose traumatic experience as a child resurfaces during a family vacation to Santa Cruz with her husband and two children. Through a series of clever plot devices, we learn of the existence of what are essentially demonic doppelgängers, and the battle between good and evil gets underway as darkness hits the coast. For some of a certain age, it may be reminiscent of the 1966 Star Trek episode, “The Enemy Within,” during which Captain Kirk battles his evil self.
Nyong’o delivers a standout and bold performance in dual roles. Thankfully Peele breaks some of the tension with occasional humor, but there are several graphic and horrifying scenes, thus the “R” rating. Please, folks, do not allow youngsters to see this film.
I recall a night in the early 1960s when I was a child and, after catching some of the 1941 Universal classic “The Wolf Man” on television, I asked my father why such movies are made, to which he responded, “Well, some people like to be scared.” Keeping that in mind, as long as there are audiences for this genre, filmmakers will continue to provide such offerings. Given his film successes to date, Jordan Peele will undoubtedly be a mainstay among them.