Us is the latest film from writer/director Jordan Peele and it comes after his huge success with 2017’s Get Out, a film which was praised by all those big-name critics who just wanted to get their brands on the poster, even though it was a less-than-average effort, and also ripping off a number of films that had gone before such as a whole raft old-style horror movies from the ’70s. And even though the film was set in the present day, it relied on you assuming we’d gone back to the days of 12 Years A Slave, where it was instantly frowned upon to have an interracial relationship.
But then I don’t pay attention to big-name critics any more. They all LOVE certain films, and HATE others, even though everyone is an individual and is meant to have individual tastes, so how can ALL of them absolutely adore every big-name film up for Oscars each year. Such practices stink worse than a backed-up toilet. That’s why I prefer only to listen to the opinions of those who are NOT being paid for their thoughts on a movie.
Anyhoo, onto Us, and it’s set in 1986, a time when some of the best pop music was made, and before the scurge of Stock Aitken & Waterman had begun. arly on, as the young Adelaide is being told to stay close to her parents so she doesn’t go AWOL while they’re at the funfair, you just know that she *IS* going to go AWOL… and she uncovers something spooky which then leads us into the present day.
As the now-adult Adelaide (the stunning Lupita Nyong’o) returns to the beach with her husband and children, the proceedings are interrupted when, in the middle of the night, they find there’s a family in their driveway… just standing there, staring back at them. However, we know exactly what’s waiting for them because we’ve seen the trailer – it’s a carbon copy of themselves, hence the title Us. They’re also a damn sight stronger than the real family.
What follows ends up feeling like a so-so zombie movie (in part), with the doppelganger twist, but with an awful lot of filler; and there’s an amusing Home Alone reference which worked on the intended level (as you’ll discover) as well as the fact this is a film referencing a film.
For anything else inbetween, I can’t go into detail because to do so would be to give spoilers, so if you really enjoyed Get Out, then watch Us. If, like me, you thought that film was mediocre, then do still check this out because it does have a number of moments which make it really worth watching even if it drags like a zombie corpse.
The trouble with modern horror films, is that they’re more likely to make me laugh than scare me. And you do get to find out why it all happens, but it is a load of silly twaddle. However, there is a cool twist at the end which I wasn’t expecting, so I enjoyed that.
Also, without giving spoilers, my favourite scene in the entire movie comes at 1:03:48 in chapter 11. That’s on the Blu-ray, so technically on the DVD, it’ll come 4% sooner, due to the PAL speed-up, as PAL runs at 25fps, whereas film is 24fps. Blu-ray is unaffected by this.
The picture and sound are exactly what you’d expect from a modern release, and the atmosphere in the score really pumps out all around the room when you have your speakers set up correctly.
The extras are as follows:
- The Monsters Within Us (4:45): There looks to be a lot of extras here, but it’s basically a case of lots of segments of the same near-hour-long ‘making of’, with this as the opener.
- Tethered Together: Making Us Twice (7:29): An extra about having the cast play themselves twice in the same scene.
- Redefining A Genre: Jordan Peele’s Brand Of Horror (5:31): The director talks about the horror films he likes. There’s also a bit of bloke smoking up his behind from the others involved, but then that happens a lot in ‘making of’-style extras.
- The Duality Of Us (9:56): Looking at the doppelganger side of the story. Well, that IS the story, really.
- Becoming Red (4:09): Lupita Nyong’o’s alter-ego, and showing how she remained in character on set whilst inbetween takes, and they left the camera rolling.
- Scene Explorations (7:37): Three scenes examined in more detail.
- Deleted Scenes (6:28): Six very brief scenes, but nothing which needs to be put back in.
- We’re All Dying (6:22): An early beach scene with some outtakes.
- As Above, So Below: Grand as De Deux (5:02): The full ballet scene.
- Audio Descriptive Track: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The main menu shows Lupita’s cover shot with a piece of the theme in the background, and the weird symbols Universal Pictures use instead of ‘Chapters’, ‘Play movie’ and the other words every other studio uses. I always have to learn anew what most of them are. Anyhoo, subtitles are in many languages as described below, and the film also has 20 chapters. If I wanted to nitpick, then given how I prefer one every five minutes, that would make 24 for this film, but either way, it’s still a lot better than most discs out there from any other studio, who go for 12 most of the film, however long a film is.
(click on the picture for the full-size image)
Running time: 116 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures UK
Released: July 29th 2019
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Dolby Vision)
Disc Format: BD50
Languages: Dolby Atmos: English; Dolby Digital Plus 7.1: Castilian Spanish, French, Italian
Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese, Greek, Arabic, Icelandic
Director: Jordan Peele
Producers: Jason Blum, Ian Cooper, Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele
Screenplay: Jordan Peele
Music: Michael Abels
Adelaide Wilson / Red: Lupita Nyong’o
Gabe Wilson / Abraham: Winston Duke
Zora Wilson / Umbrae: Shahadi Wright
Joseph Jason Wilson / Pluto: Evan Alex
Kitty Tyler: Elisabeth Moss
Josh Tyler: Tim Heidecker
Russel Thomas: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Rayne Thomas: Anna Diop
Becca Tyler: Cali Sheldon
Lindsey Tyler: Noelle Sheldon
Young Adelaide Wilson / Young Red: Madison Curry
Teenage Adelaide Wilson / Teenage Red: Ashley McKoy
Dr. Foster: Napiera Groves
Don: Lon Gowan
Alan: Alan Frazier
Danny: Duke Nicholson
Troy: Dustin Ybarra
Glen: Nathan Harrington
Nancy: Kara Hayward
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.