Fans wait in line for the premiere of “Us” at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.
Groundbreaking, But No ‘Get Out’
Filmmaker/comic actor Jordan Peele is a sick and twisted genius in regards to filmmaking.
Who would have thought when watching the sketch comedy show “Key and Peele” that the latter had more to offer than just laugh out loud moments with very little depth?
The brother is at a level that no other African-American filmmaker has reached.
Sure, other African-Americans have won more movie awards at this point in Peele’s character.
But his brand of horror films, which also include social commentary, has opened up a genre of films to African-American actors and actresses that previously did not really exist.
Sorry to fans of “Vampire in Brooklyn” and “Blacula,” but “Us” is a real horror film featuring a predominantly African-American cast.
Although “Us” is more weird and disturbed than terrifying, it is definitely a bona fide African-American horror film.
And the fact that African-American characters are lasting past the opening credits in horror films deserves a major shout-out to the groundbreaking genius of Peele.
And while “Us” is not as important as “Get Out,” moviegoers, especially horror movies fans, should definitely get out to the theaters to watch “Us” because it is worth seeing.
“Us” begins with an explanation of the unused tunnel systems and abandoned underground subway systems that exist below the ground surface in American cities.
Pay attention to that disclaimer or explanation at the beginning of the film because that nugget of information will come in handy at the conclusion of “Us.”
The movie begins in 1986 as Young Adelaide Wilson (Madison Curry) watches the famous Hands Across America commercial from that glorious decade.
Later, Young Adelaide attends a carnival in Santa Cruz, Calif. with her parents, as her father tries to win her a coveted prize for her birthday.
When her dad wins enough tickets for a prize, Young Adelaide settles for a Michael Jackson “Thriller” t-shirt much to the chagrin of her mother because the “Thriller” video gives Young Adelaide nightmares.
Honestly, the “Thriller” video gave many children of the 1980s nightmares.
Nevertheless, the children of the 1980s loved that video despite the horror it inflicted.
As Young Adelaide’s mother takes a restroom break, the mother urges her husband to keep an eye on Young Adelaide as he continues to play carnival games.
Although he agrees to keep an eye on his daughter, Young Adelaide still manages to wander off from her father’s gaze.
She finds herself in the Hall of Mirrors, a haunted house type building set up to make someone seem lost and disoriented.
What makes the Hall of Mirrors even scarier is that if one runs into their doppelganger, how will they know that it is not just a reflection from the many mirrors?
Therefore, when Young Adelaide runs into her real-life doppelganger Young Red, she is in for the shock of her life.
Though Young Adelaide’s disappearance is only for several minutes, that disappearance changes her forever.
She is the not the same little girl she was before she got separated from her father.
Her parents desperately want their old daughter back.
However, the disappearance has traumatized her and she refuses to even speak.
Fast forward to present time and Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’0, “Non-Stop”) has made strides towards a full recovery.
Nevertheless, there still seems to be something amiss about her disposition.
When her family ventures to their vacation home in Santa Cruz, Calif. old memories of her disappearance resurfaces.
Adelaide becomes overprotective of her children Jason Wilson (Evan Alex) and Zora Wilson (Shahadi Wright Joseph) while they play on the beach.
She even acts standoffish towards her husband Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke, “Black Panther”) who wants to get busy on a bed not much bigger than a twin-size.
How they both will fit on that miniscule bed is a mystery?
Adelaide even acts weirdly with her friend Kitty Tyler (Elisabeth Moss) when she should be letting her mind go lax while on the beach.
But Adelaide’s apprehension seems understandable when things start going awry while at their summer home in Santa Cruz.
Like in many horror films, Adelaide’s family loses electricity at their summer home.
Then the family encounters some unwanted guests in their driveway.
When Gabe confronts the trespassers with a baseball bat, the intruders ignore his warnings to leave his property.
The family calls the police.
Unfortunately, it will take the police 14 minutes to get to the Wilson family summer home.
Fourteen minutes is more than enough time to butcher an entire family.
But what makes the intruders even stranger is the fact that they look just like the Wilson family.
The intruders consist of parents that look like Adelaide and Gabe.
Furthermore, they have a son and daughter that look just like Jason and Zora.
The intruders’ son even wears a mask like Jason likes to wear.
In “Us,” as in every other horror film, the evil people want blood; specifically they want to take the lives of the Wilson family members.
But can the Wilsons hold off their intruders until help arrives?
Or will they get bludgeoned to death by their own doppelgangers?
The most fascinating aspects of the horror film “Us,” is how demonic the actors are as their own doppelgangers.
The evil that creeps out of their eyes and their creepy voices shows another side for the extremely talented actors in “Us.”
In “Us,” Nyong’o also plays Red.
Duke also plays Abraham.
Alex also plays Pluto.
And Joseph also plays Umbrae.
The real dilemma that the Wilson family finds themselves in despite fighting for their lives versus the murderous intentions of their doppelgangers is that if their doppelgangers go on a horrific crime spree, how will they be able to explain that they are not responsible for the crime spree?
Who is going to believe that they have doppelgangers that look identical to them?
Nevertheless, “Us” is very believable as a horror film.
Peele has immense talent as a filmmaker.
It will be interesting to see where he goes with his next films because he is definitely shattering a glass ceiling for African-American filmmakers and thespians.
Is “Us” the scariest movie all time?
But is “Us” the most important African-American horror film?
For breaking boundaries in the genre of horror films, RegalMag.com salutes Peele for his ingenuity.