Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 276th review overall!
My vacations are over and now it’s back to work. The cleaning crew just wiped down a vent above my desk and now there’s dust everywhere. It’s easier to put together a newscast when you’re not constantly brushing dust off your keyboard and desk. But before I headed in, I figured it was time to go back to the Family Video pile and I watched...
Us (2019). Family Video
I had previously reviewed, and loved Jordan Peele’s first movie Get Out. I thought it was fantastic. I saw a preview for Us and was immediately intrigued, it looked so creepy and I knew it was being done by a talented filmmaker, has to be great, right? Sadly, I didn’t like it.
While on a vacation a family is being stalked than attacked by their doppelgangers. The first half of the movie is really good. I loved the cast. They all had good chemistry and they just seemed like an actual, real family. The dad had his dad jokes, the kids bickered and the mother, while a bit high strung worked well as the anchor. When the “other” family shows up and they’re just standing in the driveway bathed in shadow, it’s a truly effective scene. The way they’re just standing there, not reacting is chilling. Then when approached, seeing two of them dive out of sight is equally scary and I was fully invested.
From there the movie loses a whole lot of steam. It turns out, this isn’t an isolated incident. These “other” families are coming out of everywhere and killing their counterparts. Every time you see the “others”, they’re viciously and efficiently murdering everything in their sight, EXCEPT for the Wilson family. I understand why the Wilson “others” were taking their time, but when they meet up with a different group (who wiped out a family in less time than it took for me to write this sentence), they just toy with them until the Wilsons get the upper hand.
Once things start unraveling and you start getting answers, my interest dropped. I understand what he was going for, but it didn’t land for me. If the head “other” hasn’t spoken in decades, how did she create such an organized and meticulous plan with people who can’t speak and probably have never even heard human speech? It runs into the Silent Hill movie problem. This movie doesn’t explain anything for the longest time, things just keep happening and you’re as clueless as the victims. But then the protagonist marches into a room and there’s exposition dump. Although, to its credit, it did lead to a very cool sequence. Adelaide Wilson is trying to kill her “other,” who was a dancer, and she deftly avoids all of Wilson’s slashes. That’s nothing too different, but the music in the background is awesome. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a mix of something you’d hear in the ballet, with some slasher beats thrown in when she swings. It’s small, but a really cool way to make the scene so much better than it had any right to be.
As for the twist, sorry, but I don’t plan on revealing it. Just know, I didn’t like it. I hate to be a “SIMPSONS DID IT!” guy, but “The Simpsons” did it and I enjoyed that version more. However, once Lincoln gets old enough, I may show him this movie as a precautionary tale. “If you wander away from your parents you could kick the plot of Us into motion! So stay where we can see you!”
I don’t mean to be too critical of this movie because it’s well done, the acting is very good and the cast is great. It’s just, after Get Out and those awesome previews, I was hoping for more. Winston Duke though, continues to be a delight though and I’d watch a prequel where nothing happens outside of him making dad jokes.