How does Jordan Peele's second film, Us, compare to his debut, Get Out? The director is back with another twisted horror movie and, as anybody who's seen the trailer for Us will attest, there are definitely some similarities to his first movie. However, those stylistic elements are really superficial compared to the differences.
Previously best known as one half of sketch comedy duo Key and Peele, Get Out marked Jordan Peele out as a must-watch filmmaking talent. His tale of a black man meeting his white girlfriend's liberal parents only to discover he's part of a plot to brain swap the dying upper-class into "superior" bodies was dripping in subtext rarely found in mainstream Hollywood and, just as importantly, truly unnerving. It became a smash-hit even by new wave horror standards: Get Out earned 56x its $4.5 million budget, received across the board critical praise and netted Peele an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (along with three other nominations including Best Picture). Needless to say, all eyes were on what was next.
Related: Get Out's Ending & Message Explained
That sophomore effort is Us, a doppelganger home invasion thriller that, from its trailer, promised a similar chilling experience. In practice, though, Us - the first truly great film of 2019, make no mistake - is a suitable evolution for Peele, seeing him move on from Get Out in some surprising ways (no spoilers).
The Similarities Between Us & Get Out
From the opening sequence, Us is unavoidably and immediately a Jordan Peele film. It's a horror with a slow-burn style, high-production values, a grounded sense of humor, and so many clues you'll be driven to rewatch immediately. The story is once again rooted in the everyday unknown of the docile middle-class, with both films twists on well-worn horror staples that have their core in the dark, forgotten underbelly of modern American society.
Scares come from the same creeping dread of an increasingly inescapable situation, aided by Peele's deft sense of place; he subtly clues an audience into a location's layout before throwing the terrified characters into it. Us' shooting style and subsequent editing is similarly meticulous, with a free-handly geometrical feeling behind tension building long-takes, slow pans and slightly-too-close portraits all aimed to mildly unnerve from the start. More granularly, Us makes great use of straight-on shots of Lupita Nyong'o streaming tears, just as Get Out did Daniel Kaluuya.
To say any more would be to spoil, but any similarities inherent in coming from the same screenwriter are hardly a cause to cry predictability. Which brings us to...
The Differences Between Us & Get Out
But while Us and Get Out are unmistakably the product of the same, top-of-his-game filmmaker, there are some key distinctions between the pair. Chiefly, Us is more of a straight-up horror than Get Out, with a home invasion stretch that creates tension for a more prolonged run than any point of Peele's previous movie. As a result, the new film also has less pointed social commentary: whereas Get Out's primary meaning was oblique, there's an intentional vagueness to Us that is - on a meta level - essential. Crucially, Us isn't about racial politics in the same way as Get Out, providing a wider and more challenging scope
While these differences may make Us a tougher proposition to audiences who relished in Get Out's style, you needn't worry - this is fundamentally a great film and one whose differences are what mark Jordan Peele out as a true talent.
Next: Screen Rant's Us Review
- Us (2019) release date: Mar 22, 2019