Us Parent Guide
Flawless production values, impressive acting, and a clever plot combine to produce a truly terrifying horror movie for adult fans of the genre. Not for the rest of us.
Parent Movie Review
Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) returns to her childhood home near Santa Cruz for a relaxing vacation with her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). However, Adelaide wishes for the family to avoid the boardwalk, as she had experienced a traumatic event in a house of mirrors as a young child. Unable to persuade Gabe to avoid the area, she relents on the condition that they return before nightfall. The Wilsons have a pleasant time at the beach, but later that night Jason notices a strange family standing in the darkness at the end of their driveway. A family which looks eerily familiar but behaves very strangely. A family dressed in identical red jumpsuits and carrying sharp golden scissors…
Director Jordan Peele of Get Out fame is intent on making the kind of horror movies that I love to watch, and while Us is certainly not connected thematically or tonally to his Oscar-winning directorial debut, it is the same style of existential horror. Us doesn’t rely on the goofy unwarranted jump scares of a film like The Possession of Hannah Grace, replaced instead with the long takes of terrified characters trying to find what lurks in the shadows. This more thematic and tonal approach to horror wouldn’t work without Peele’s focus on strong and memorable imagery, which he delivers in Us.
Equally critical to the success of this film is some impressive acting from the principal cast, all of whom play both themselves and their unsettling doppelgangers. In the case of Lupita Nyong’o especially, these performances drive the film. Nyong’o, while not responsible for all of the scares, carries more than any other actor and does so with chilling and horrifying ease.
All of these exemplary production elements are tied together with a compelling soundtrack which mixes covers and original compositions smoothly. More importantly, they work together to bolster the tone Peele creates with his strong visual design and elegant camera work.
That being said, this is not a family film. The violence is grisly and disturbing, and the profanity is frequent. On top of that, it’s unbelievably terrifying, and definitely not suitable for young or sensitive viewers, although you could probably have guessed most of this from its Restricted rating. As you may have noticed, I really like this movie. I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Get Out, which is easily one of my all-time favorites in the horror genre, but it is nonetheless an excellent entry from Peele. If you’re an adult fan of creepy horror, join the rest of Us and give Us a view.Directed by Jordan Peele. Starring Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong'o, and Elisabeth Moss. Running time: 120 minutes. Theatrical release March 22, 2019. Updated March 22, 2019
Rating & Content Info
Why is Us rated R? Us is rated R by the MPAA for violence/terror, and language
Violence: A man is shown with blood dripping from his hand. An individual is struck with a baseball bat. An individual is knocked unconscious after being dragged outside. Someone is in the distance. An individual is struck in the head with a bat. A person is messily mulched by an outboard motor. Four individuals are shown being stabbed in the neck. An individual is struck in the head with a fire poker. Two people are beaten with a golf club, and one falls nearly 15 feet after being knocked over a railing. A male character cuts his own face with scissors. An individual is struck in the head with a decorative geode. Someone is stuck in the face with a heavy frying pan and then stabbed with a pair of scissors. A character is hit with a car and launched into a tree, where they are shown with what is likely a badly broken spine. Multiple people are shown dead and covered in blood, lying in the streets. An individual voluntarily steps into a fire and dies as a result. An individual is stabbed in the hand and the stomach. A main character stabs someone through the torso with a fire poker: their neck breaks.
Sexual Content: A man comments on having sex with his wife’s double. A man is shown lying in bed; the shape of his genitals is visible through his shorts. A man refers to the bedroom as the “magic room” as an allusion to sex.
Profanity: There is frequent use of profanity in all categories. There are close to three dozen sexual expletives, approximately half of which occur in the song, F** the Police by NWA. The song also uses a racial slur. There are another three dozen moderate profanities, particularly scatological curses, as well as a dozen terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: The protagonists are not shown drinking. An abusive father and two others are shown intoxicated, but this is discouraged, and none of them are portrayed as particularly happy or well-liked people. A woman drinks wine and a man consumes whiskey.
Page last updated March 22, 2019
Us Parents' Guide
It has been suggested that there is a high likelihood that everyone has a doppelganger. How likely do you think this is? How would you feel about running into someone who looked just like you? Does the idea of having a double feel exciting or alarming? Why?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Stephen King’s The Dark Half also features a man struggling to fight an evil version of himself, presented in King’s typical dark, disturbing, and unsettling style. Not for younger readers.
Tweens and teens interested in characters who embrace themselves in all their complexity will enjoy Ursula K. LeGuin’s 1968 novel, A Wizard of Earthsea. They will also like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.
Aliens take over human bodies in Jack Finney’s sci-fi classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. A less intense spin on a similar plot is Host, by Stephenie Meyer.
Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, features two characters, English barrister Sydney Carton and French émigré, Charles Darnay, who bear a striking resemblance to one another. Their fates intertwine in surprising and lifechanging ways.
Related home video titles:
Younger audiences might enjoy Home Alone, which features a young boy fending off the burglars who have invaded his home with some cartoonish contraptions. More comic mayhem is found in The Parent Trap, a story about twins who take advantage of their identical appearance to help their parents reconcile.
Alfred Hitchock’s Vertigo features a man obsessed with a woman and her double.
Viewers looking for a comedic take on doppelgangers can head for Dave, in which Kevin Kline plays a regular guy who is persuaded to impersonate the incapacitated president he so closely resembles.