Accept Us

What a bizarre and lasting creative splendor Us is. In terms of major studio production, Us’ exotic, judgmental slant ignores all mainstream expectations.

Over the opening credits, the camera pulls back on rabbits in small cages. Many rabbits. In that one shot, Us reveals its themes. This is never a nice movie – funny, at times, for levity – but coming from a perspective of honest fatalism. Therein lies the horror – honesty.

Everything is a lie in Us until the other selves appear. Those copycats appear wearing red, holding golden scissors and ready to cut. They invade the summer home of the Wilsons, a place where the family can get away, but also avoid their real selves. Then reality intrudes, forcefully, heinously.

It’s possible to see Us as Jordan Peele’s second statement on black America after Get Out. Winston Duke is stellar as the Wilson’s father figure, ignoring he’s becoming the generic white guy who buys a crummy boat, tells pitiful dad jokes, and stays up to watch baseball highlights. It’s as if Get Out’s antagonists won, isolating any sign of black culture in order for the Wilsons to fit in with the white locals, including an alcoholic wife and her distant husband.

Us unleashes violent impulses in physical forms, and does so with a terrifying mirror effect

Us aims for something greater, if bleak. It turns the famed world peace demonstration Hands Across America into a farce, such an event happening among a wealth of violent outbursts. Innocence lies in our pasts, our childhood angry and spiteful that is was shoved underground while adults mature into something they’re not. Us brings out truth buried in everyone.

Peele’s masterwork is in framing this with traditional horror. The home invasion plays out with suitable chills, plus further joining the theme of becoming someone else. Duke walks outside in a masculine act waving a baseball bat, then cowardly rushes inside to lock the door when the invader makes a move. Later, the white family carries on a subtle, dry argument as the lazy husband refuses to get up and check if anyone is breaking into the house. He’s cocky. The Beach Boys begin playing. That arrogance and the truth hidden from their public life is their undoing.

Underneath modern society, humanity buries something more sinister – our primal selves. Us unleashes violent impulses in physical forms, and does so with a terrifying mirror effect. Peele’s choice of title to emphasize human nature’s hypocrisy is a master stroke.

Video

Super dense black levels begin this film, opening at night with a lonely beach and spectacular lights on the opposite shoreline. Carnival bulbs glisten against true black. That’s HDR greatness, even better when considering no loss of detail occurs in the darkest parts of the image. Things do lighten for the final act, settling on a drier gray, but adding to the action’s visual discomfort.

Sticking with predominantly warm tones (an unusual choice for this genre), color frequently stands out. Strong primaries bring out the locations and California beach sights. Red jumpsuits and gold scissors stand out even in dark scenery.

The 2K finish hardly inhibits detail. Facial definition flourishes here, even on the youngest cast members. A number of 2K upscales look as such to discerning eyes. Not Us. It’s convincing given the sharpness and resolution. Other than occasional low light noise, the digital source doesn’t suffer from any clarity problems. Even the noise is handled by Universal’s encode.

Audio

Although oddly favoring the right side of the soundfield, the Atmos mix is essential. This isn’t the same movie without it. Us employs all manner of directional scares. Voices, shouts, screams, and attacks all happen in positional channels. When on a boat, Duke hides in a compartment. A killer jumps in, the thud hear in the low-end and heights. Those overheads see plenty of use, even if mostly for ambiance. Music always fills the full soundstage. Things like splashing water and blood splatter jump overhead too.

When needed, bass proves exceptional and potent. A few rap tracks use the subwoofer extensively. Some kills do too, accentuating strikes with various objects. Breaking silence, attackers pound on doors with awesome weight, the best kind of jump scare.

Extras

In a unique move, Universal offers the choice to play all of the bonuses without needing to return to the menu each time – and these bonuses reside on the UHD and Blu-ray. Score. Good thing because the bonuses disappoint. Primarily, it’s a number of bland EPKs, a few minutes long at best. Scene explorations run short, if at least delving into the careful creative process. Six deleted scenes expand on minor character moments.

Us
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

Jordan Peele crafts an unnerving, vicious, and truthful look at humanity’s fatalist nature in Us, while still providing genre entertainment.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our Patreon-exclusive set of 44 full 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: