Peele captures satire of the American dream

Director Jordan Peele’s sophomore horror film, “Us,” posted the best opening ever for an original horror movie.

The movie scored $71.1 million in its opening weekend, making it the best opening for a live-action original film since 2009’s “Avatar.” “Us,” with a budget of just $20 million, is the third best horror opening of all time, following 2017’s remake of “It” and 2018’s sequel “Halloween.”

Lead actress Lupita Nyong’o plays Adelaide Wilson and Red, her doppelgänger. This is Nyong’o’s first lead role in a movie. Nyong’o won an Oscar for 2013’s “12 Years a Slave.”

Starring alongside her are Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex. Duke plays Adelaide’s husband and his doppelgänger, Gabe Wilson and Abraham, while Joseph and Alex play her kids and their doppelgängers Zora/Umbrae and Jason/Pluto. Moss and Heidecker are friends of Adelaide and Gabe’s, Kitty and Josh Tyler.

The film starts off with a young Adelaide with her parents at the Santa Cruz boardwalk in California. She wanders off into a funhouse on the beach, where she runs into her doppelgänger for the first time. The film then cuts to the present day where she and her family are taking a family vacation to their beach house.

Her husband, Gabe, lets Adelaide know they will be going to that same boardwalk to meet up with their friends, Kitty and Josh, later that day. Adelaide, still scarred from the occurrence years ago, is reluctant but eventually gives in. While at the beach, her son, Jason, goes to use the restroom but runs into a man standing awkwardly in the middle of the beach with blood dripping from his hands.

Without giving too much away, the family returns home and is encountered by four intruders, who happen to be their doppelgängers. Each look-alike takes their counterpart and leaves Adelaide and Red to themselves. Madness ensues and each being realizes it’s a fight to the death.

Nyong’o is amazing in both roles in this suspenseful thriller. The way she is able to capture two different characteristics and mannerisms is breathtaking. There already is early Oscar buzz for a nomination. Duke, who you might recognize as M’Baku from “Black Panther,” can still get it. Not only is he willing to protect his family, but he’s still attractive as ever.

The composition in the film plays a vital role as well, not just hip-hop group Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It,” but the orchestrated music also. While I do not think “Us” is a horror film, I see it more as a telling of an urban legend.

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