Jordan Peele is bringing the horror genre back to prominence. Us hits all the horror film notes, every jump, every scare and every tense moment fueled by Michael Abels musical score adds to the experience. The film reaches its A- grade status not because of the horror elements but because of all the detail and symbolism baked in that makes watching and talking about it engaging. And I don’t care that all of it didn’t make sense. We don’t have the full story, how do we know it didn’t make sense?
For years horror has been a rehash of some monster in some mythology and has practically gone straight to DVD and streaming. Jordan Peele has added new life to the genre with his dark and creepy suspense based horror that doesn’t focus on edge-lord type gore. I watched this late at night on very little sleep on a weekday with things to do the next morning. It means a lot to say I didn’t doze off in the theater. It means a lot to say I didn’t get antsy and consider leaving.
Us grabbed me with its weirdness and darkness and kept me alert with it’s well placed horror tropes. It kept me watching with its scenes that I was sure mean something but “can’t quite figure it out just yet” moments. What makes this film a success is that it gets the horror right and also gets ancillary storytelling, easter eggs and mythology right.
The movies on the shelf at the beginning mean something.
The 11:11 means something.
The Black Flag shirts mean something.
All of those easter eggs are what brings US up from a B or B+ solid horror film to the A- I’ve given it. On top of what I call ancillary, the symbolism and the easter eggs are everywhere, there is also a developed world building infrastructure that Jordan Peele just decides not to explain.
So we get a close up of the effect of this rebellion on a family and no real answers to how it happened (or very little explanation) and a lot of questions about how it’s all possible.
The most important thing are the characters and their story. Keeping it that personal is what keeps us on our toes and what kept me caring throughout the experience.
And because I know in the backdrop there is something much larger going on, I care a lot less about the perceived nonsensical plot elements. I’ll avoid going into those here to avoid spoilers.
Even people who like the film have pointed them out. And yes, I definitely don’t like laziness in my storytelling, but I also understand I was not given all the information. Since I don’t have all that information, I let go of ****** (insert any number of about three examples I can give of supposed plot holes).
Go watch Us.
Go jump and freak out.
And then watch as the film stays with you the next day and how much fun it is to talk about with friends who have also experienced it.
What do you think of the symbolism. Let me know on twitter @chrissarda.
File under Jordan Peele
File under Work of Oscar Nominated Directors