Us [2019] ★★½

Writer-director Jordan Peele follows up 2017’s surprise hit “Get Out” (which landed him an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay) with yet another ambitious horror movie. I say that with full confidence because “Us” has all the ingredients that made “Get Out” so successful. So why did it not fully satisfy me? It can’t be the actors. Lupita Nyong’o is well cast as a mother who is still haunted by an unresolved trauma from her childhood. Now on vacation with her family, she is about to relive the same trauma all over again when a group of people who look exactly like them begins to terrorize them one night. How is that even possible? Peele wants to squeeze us (no pun intended) until the explanation comes. This creates a palpable sense of unease, and the first half of the movie is truly terrifying. My problem is in the final third, when they try to explain everything. I admire Peele’s dedication to his projects and the way he crafts his horror films, but it just didn’t leave an impact this time around. I say that with disappointment because I really wanted to love “Us”. It’s not easy to talk about my problems with it without entering spoiler territory, so I’ll just leave it at that. Suffices to say that up until that crazy final third, “Us” kept me on the edge of my seat. I may have mixed feelings about the overall result, but it’s still well worth seeing and I can’t wait to see where Jordan Peele goes next.

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