US – Review by Susan Granger

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When you’re hot, you’re hot! Following his debut success with Get Out (2017), Jordan Peele’s new horror thriller has already grossed $70 million, tripling its $20 million budget.

In 1986 at California’s Santa Cruz beachside amusement park, young Adelaide (Madison Curry), clutching a candied apple, has a terrifying experience after wandering into an eerie ‘funhouse of mirrors.’ It’s so traumatic that she’s never discussed it – with anyone.

Cut to the present, when vacationing Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), her husband Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke), teenage daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and young son Jason (Evan Alex) wind up at the same beachside amusement park.

Back home that night, a menacing family of four, clad in red jumpsuits and carrying huge scissors, suddenly appear in their driveway, trapping the Wilsons inside. It turns out they’re the Wilsons’ zombie-like, tethered doppelgangers.

Adelaide’s covetous twin has lived a life of surreal misery, so she and the others have come to un-tether themselves. Fleeing to the home of friends/neighbors (Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker) only causes more brutal carnage.

The twists and turns continue to an ultimate ‘reveal,’ the creepiness enhanced as the line between music and sound effects gets blurred.

Fond of sinister Biblical references, Peele features a homeless man holding a sign: “Jeremiah 11:11,” referring to an Old Testament passage about a covenant between God and the people of Israel, perhaps connecting to the clones that reside in tunnels underneath Earth’s surface.

Inspired by a the suspenseful Mirror Image episode of the Twilight Zone TV series, writer/director/producer Jordan Peele notes, “I realized I’d never seen a horror picture where there’s an African-American family at the center, and it’s not about race. After you get over the initial realization that you’re watching a black family, you’re just watching people.”

“I feel like it proves a very valid and different point than ‘Get Out,’ which is: not everything is about race,” Peele goes on. “‘Get Out’ proved that everything is about race. Now, I’ve proved both points!”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Us is an insidious, unsettling 8. It’s nightmarish.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.