Us is a bad LSD trip the inner mind of Jordan Peele is having that we, the audience, communally share. As a former Banana Slug, I can attest to the utter appropriateness of Santa Cruz as the location. It’s a proudly weird place, a vortex of time and space, a living breathing acid test in motion. The film draws inspiration from and pays homage to some pretty varied sources, most notably Dante’s Inferno (but also Dante’s Purgatorio), Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the Bible, The Shining, The Lost Boys, Stranger Things, Hot Tub Time Machine, Zombieland, Thriller, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, Jaws, Black Flag, Bernard Herrmann’s iconic scores for Alfred Hitchcock, Childish Gambino’s This is America music video etc. etc. etc. And it’s all tastefully and often humorously done.
Our clerk at the concession stand did an amazingly good job summing up the movie, even though his tag said his favorite film was La La Land. His 1 minute critique was concise, precise and didn’t include any spoilers. He said it was not a horror film but more of a slasher, suspense film that was very entertaining and had a great ending. We replied — Yes, we would like butter. We would always like butter.
The density of the film in terms of references and symbols made D and I both come to the conclusion that we could watch this film many more times and still not be able to get everything Jordan Peele was trying to express. And at least for me, that’s okay. Us made my heart beat fast for its entire 2 hour and 1 minute run time. When I was using the restroom after the film, absolutely everything was freaking me out. The sound of the paper dispenser, the feel of the water faucet…my senses were certainly heightened in a way I hadn’t felt since Besson’s Lucy had me freaking out, sweating and staring at all the surveillance cameras on the traffic lights in L.A.
In the sense that Us has a profound ability to move you, Us wins. The plot is most certainly flawed, the density of references and meanings may turn off some people but ultimately, it is a thought provoking allegory and entertaining film. If some gore, violence and blood don’t turn you off, I’m sure you will heartily enjoy Us. In Slug parlance…doood, the flick is a total trip.