us movie

Jordan Peele‘s Get Out was one of my favorite films of 2017. Peele’s film not only tapped into the the racial turmoil our society was experiencing (a “post-racial lie” as Peele referred to it), but it also gave us indelible imagery and ideas that have become a part of our culture.

As a result, I was really looking forward to seeing Peele’s follow-up, Us. This week, I watched the film with Peter Sciretta at the Hollywood Arclight and we recorded a video reaction about the film immediately afterwards. You can view our spoiler-free video reaction below, in which we grapple with how well we felt the movie explained certain plot elements and whether we like the film more than Get Out (we have also provided a transcription if you’d rather read it).

David: Hey everyone, it’s David Chen. I’m here today with Peter Sciretta, editor-in-chief of SlashFilm.com. We just watched the new Jordan Peele film Us at the Hollywood Arclight cinema, which is behind us right now. We’re sitting outside. I thought we’d record a quick log to talk about the film and before we begin, I should point out that we will not necessarily be spoiling, but talking about what’s in the trailer. So if you don’t want to be spoiled on anything, you should just skip this video and we will let you know if we’re going to spoil further. But we will talk about what’s in the trailer and the basic premise of the movie. All that being said, Peter, What’d you think?

Peter: I’m still chewing on it, Dave. I do think as a horror film, this is a better horror film then Get Out.

David: I think this is an exceptionally well-directed horror film. I think when you want to watch a good horror film, there’s certain things you look for, right? You want something that has characters you root for that’s super tense, super scary, that has good set pieces that has moments that make you think and that have moments that terrify you. I spent much of his film gripping my chair, super tense.

Peter: I know because there’s jump scares that [made you shake] my chair when you jumped.

David: Because it was so terrifying. Some parts of this movie, you were really terrified.

Peter: Right. But you know, not just that though, the character work that Jordan Peele, he wrote, he directed, produced the movie. Every single character, even when it’s stuff thats very tangential for the plot, like who they are as a person, like every line. It’s so perfect. When this movie is thrilling…when as you’ve seen in the trailer, basically these people show up at the house, [copies of the people who live there.]

David: Yeah. It’s like doubles and the movie takes a lot of inspiration from like Funny Games in my opinion. Right? Like Michael Haneke‘s home invasion movie.

Peter: And it introduces a mystery at the beginning. Like who are these people? Why are there doubles?

David: The way that that situation is explained? Right? Like whatever explanation, whether they give you one or they don’t, or whether they explain it again incredibly in-depth or not. My feeling coming out of the theater was that a lot of people didn’t find it satisfying, right? The movie asks a lot of you in terms of suspension of disbelief and when a movie asks that much of you, it really needs to deliver the goods. It really needs to be satisfying. And I think a lot of people were left more confused than they were satisfied. That was my sense coming out of the theater. And I will say that from, from my perspective, I really had a great time with this movie, but I do think that the third act does have some real problems.

Peter: The thing I liked about this is it for that first like hour, maybe hour and 20 minutes, the tension and it was just ramping up non-stop, really slow. Like it was just every scene just like ramping up and it, it just like, when shit goes down, like you’re just like on the edge of your seat. There’s some awesome, I mean you can tell Jordan Peele is a student of horror. Can I say there’s horror kills that are amazing. There’s some really good kills. Like when the credits went up and there was a smattering of applause and you could tell everybody in the theater really appreciated the film, but it felt like the ending, I don’t know. I’m not even sure it lost me. I have to think about it. This is the kind of film I want to read some takes on and I want to read some interpretations on. And you’re getting our opinion right when we walked out of the film, and like usually you get Dave’s opinion when after he’s read tons of articles and he’s really formulate it. Like now it’s really, it’s raw. It’s really hard to…especially a non-spoiler. It’s really hard to…

David: I will say that the movie is going to be very thought-provoking. It’s going to be overall, probably very well reviewed. People are going to be talking about, it’s going to be buzzy. It’s a movie that everyone should see. I think it also potentially has a lot to say. You know, there’s some people, they see a movie that’s like, oh, this movie was about the ultra rich and like how they inflict sins upon the poor. Like, yes, it could be that, but it’s also just like a really good horror film right there. There’s a lot to interpret.

Peter: Yeah. I feel like there’s so much, it seems like to me, he was like, how can I create iconic imagery? Like, there’s so many scenes of iconic imagery. I can imagine like 20 different Mondo posters of like images, especially stuff in the later acts. It’s like really like, you know how like The Shining has iconic imagery? Like there’s some iconic stuff like that.

David: I agree with you that the imagery is very iconic. Like the production design art direction is really strong, but I almost feel like some of that iconography takes away from the believability of the plot. Do you know what I’m saying? Because I’m not thinking like, I’m not necessarily thinking, oh look at how iconic this is. I’m thinking how did these people acquire these props that they needed to make these tableaus, you know, being as being as vague as possible. Right.

Peter: I think if you have any problems with believability in movies, this film is a house of cards. You need to either buy into that premise and accept that. I mean how would you even explain that there’s doubles of us showing up …

David: Like think of all the potential explanations for that. Like just in your head and whichever one you come up with, it’s going to be like pretty implausible. And I don’t know that the movie really like bridges that gap.

Peter: So if you go into the movie wanting that answer to be amazing, maybe this isn’t the movie to see, but if you’re going to the movie for thrilling horror movie, this is probably the best tense horror film I’ve seen since like maybe The Conjuring.

David: Yeah, I think that when I think about what this movie does better than Get Out or as good as Get Out, I mean as you mentioned, this movie is more straight-up, classic horror and get out, get out, fell to me really taught driven. It’s like he’s peeling back these layers of the onion and you’re learning more about this world. This movie does the same thing, right? You start with a little bit of like, oh, there’s doubles and then like the peel back the world and then you learn more and more and more. It was kind of like a more of a psychological thriller and it was a horror film and like this movie is like straight horror. Right. One thing that is great to see about this movie though is…Get Out [had] a really small budget and you really get to see Jordan Peele as a director, kind of explore more locations and be more ambitious with the imagery. And I did like that, but ultimately, again, as we’re turning it around in our heads, not sure the ending was ultimately satisfying.

Peter: I also think this is a great movie that might have some re-watchability. Even though it sounds like I’m down on this because some stuff in the last third, I don’t know if it’s what I wanted it to be or whatever. But if they were telling me we could see this again right now, I would walk into the theater because I want to see some stuff again.

David: I was talking to some critics who had already seen the film and they were coming back again to see it during the press screening because they’d seen at SXSW. The movie is very thought-provoking. It’s well worth watching. Let me ask you this. Do you prefer this movie to Get Out?

Peter: I do, actually. I think I do. I also like movies that invite interpretation and I feel like this is going to have a lot of that.

David: I think so. I think Get Out is much more explicit in terms of its themes. Get Out is about white people using, acquiring, inhabiting black bodies. And this one is much less explicit about what it’s trying to say. And I actually think that’s a good thing in general for movies. I think this movie is stronger in terms of the direction. I don’t know if I liked the movie better though, I don’t know if that makes sense. Well, I think the movie’s clearly left us thinking about a lot of things and uh, potentially confused about some things, but it’s a movie that we both really enjoyed the experience of watching it.

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Disclosure: I’m an employee of Amazon but my views are my own. 

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