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With 'Us,' Jordan Peele proves he isn’t just a one-hit wonder

by Olivia Weinzapfel Following his first Academy Award winning film, Get Out, Jordan Peele broke box office records with Us, his second stroke of creative genius. Although Us reached nearly 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, some professional and fan-based critics have expressed disapproval regarding its label as a horror film. This film, like his last one, embodies a terrifying, disturbing nature that would fit better into a category of corrupt psychological thrillers. I, like many others, am a huge fan of both movies because of this; it’s a very out of the ordinary subgenre of horror. Peele’s imagination generated another perfectly original plotline, and the range of effects he used throughout the movie shows off his great storytelling ability.

Misguided expectations

A few die-hard horror fanatics, myself included, held the bar pretty high for this movie in terms of terror. It’s not completely clear what such a high standard for that particular aspect can be attributed to. Maybe it was the trailer, which revealed some of the most terrifying scenes of the movie; looking back, it was almost too much of a spoiler for the visuals. Or it may have just been the media’s collective excitement spiraling into even higher expectations since Get Out was such a huge success. Peele didn’t let us down as some may say. He delivered another film that was just as praiseworthy as his first.
Image from IMDb
Remembering Get Out as a psychological thriller, it was truly unnerving, but that was not credited to the movie’s extent of visual horror. The aura of existential dread is the real leading edge of Peele’s movies. In both of his films, there are plenty of chilling scenes, but they don’t overshadow the obscurity of the fundamental plot. Despite its genre label, this movie might not fit into the horror description. Both of Peele’s films are a different type of terror; they’re completely deranged stories that stem from the unsound mind of a true visionary. The plotline that Us revolves around is extremely disturbing even as a concept itself. This situational story is a perplex account that’s pulled straight out of a universal nightmare. The foundation of the plot is the idea of soulless, slave-like clones that are bound to the life of their incarnated twin, much like a living shadow. There’s a subhuman second-self to every living being, and they reside in a prison-like underground facility. One prisoner of the clone world, the only one with a true conscious, organizes a revolution inflamed by a desire for revenge. The concept of these doppelgängers stemmed from an actual Twilight Zone episode, titled “Mirror Image.” Peele redelivers this chilling concept at a new angle. It’s an apocalyptic-type scenario on a very sinister and original premise. It’s a madly genius story, and it’s told very strategically with an unforeseen plot-twist that makes the entire story come full-circle.

Well-rounded scares

The world of horror includes subcategories. There are many different types of scares, and, more often than not, a scary movie will focus on explicitly one kind. Some people are more afraid of gore while others react more to ghosts. Us is an all-inclusive movie that features everyone’s favorite kind of fright at a moderate level. This is where some negative reviews of this movie got their start, because Us didn’t hone in on any one type to truly scare the crap out of anyone. While this is true, Us gave us a good amount of differentiation that didn’t distract from the plot.
Image from IMDb
Us is filled with nonstop suspense that always keeps you on the edge of your seat. It remains unpredictable because you never know what kind of scare will come next. There’s a blend of terror that includes a variety of gore, mirror scares, loud noises, hidden attacks, audio-induced suspense, and all around visual creepiness. Each tactic was tailored to each scene perfectly, but Peele is good at one type in particular, and the entire movie really showcases his talent. The category of psychological fear truly is Peele’s forte; it’s what makes him such a good writer, director, and producer. He not only has the ability to come up with a good story, but he’s also really good at telling it cinematically. Throughout the movie, there are plenty of unsettling motifs and small hints. They make absolutely no sense in the beginning, but as the plot unfolds, everything connects all at once. You can try your best to predict the outcomes, but Peele’s ideas are a different kind of twisted; they’re ideas that can’t typically be predicted before they’re fully revealed. It’s entertaining not only to the eyes but also to the mind, which is constantly busy trying to figure out what on earth is going on. As the movie reaches its climax, just as in Get Out, you realize how incredibly messed up and appalling the story is. Peele is producing this generation’s Twilight Zone, and it’s probable that his originality will never falter.
Images: IMDb Featured Image: IMDb