Movies

Movie review: ‘Us’

Unusual horror movie offers serious scares and food for thought

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 3/22/19

Woven through the layers of paralyzing terror in writer-producer-director Jordan Peele's "Us" are the kind of enigmatic visual symbols ...

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Movies

Movie review: ‘Us’

Unusual horror movie offers serious scares and food for thought

Posted

Woven through the layers of paralyzing terror in writer-producer-director Jordan Peele's "Us" are the kind of enigmatic visual symbols one might find in any film by the likes of Ingmar Bergman, Alejandro Jodorowsky or Luis Buñuel.

While Peele’s aspirations might not hit the artistic heights of said filmmakers, his efforts create an unnerving sense that something is going on just beyond our fingertips. That alone makes one feel off-balance and insecure.

About what? Well, reality for one.

The film is centered on a woman named Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o), mother of preteen boy Jason (Evan Alex) and precocious teen girl Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and married to husband Gabe (Winston Duke). But, we first see Adelaide as a young girl at the amusement park in Santa Rosa, California. She is there with her slightly overprotective mother and apparently estranged father, who seems to have been drinking.

Something traumatic happens there, the nature of which isn’t revealed until later, but its effect stays with Adelaide as she grows up and navigates her way through marriage and motherhood. This has made her seem extra wary of things happening around her, especially as we catch up with her later while she and her family prepare to enjoy a vacation with friends in Santa Rosa.

Their friends are Kitty and Josh Tyler (Elizabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker), parents to self-absorbed twin daughters (Cali and Noelle Sheldon). The adult Tylers drink a lot, which makes Adelaide uncomfortable. Her husband, though, likes their company and looks forward to some serious kick-back time with them.

One night, a man, a woman and two children mysteriously appear in silhouette in their driveway. The intruders do not identify themselves and stand there for a long time not doing anything, even after Gabe threatens them with a baseball bat if they don’t move along.

Suddenly, the younger ones take off somewhere in the dark and the suspense ratchets up.

The first thing to come to mind might be to measure what happens next in other suspense, horror or slasher movies, mainly because the plot seems to hit those buttons. But, the disquiet that emerges from a certain off-kilter way of depicting the strangeness will keep you not only guessing, but fearful of where Peele’s film is leading. Part of this may involve something suggested by a quote from psychiatrist Carl Jung who once said, "Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is."

And, incidentally, there is a reference to a biblical quote that occurs from time to time in the script. The reference is Jeremiah 11:11. If you look it up, it reads, “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them."

Trippy, yes. Very trippy.

Tempo grade: A

“Title” is rated R for violence/ terror and language.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Theatres Storyteller Cinema 7, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

Five Feet Apart

MPAA rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, language and suggestive material.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

Directed by Justin Baldoni (“My Last Days”), this romantic drama centers on 17-year-old Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) who spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient.

Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control — all of which get put to the test when she meets Will (Cole Sprouse), an impossibly charming teen who has the same illness. There's an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them.

As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Theatres Storyteller Cinema 7, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

On the Basis of Sex

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some language and suggestive content.

Taos Community Auditorium

Directed by the great Mimi Leder, this film is about the young Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her early struggles as an attorney working for equal rights.

Ginsburg (brilliantly portrayed by Felicity Jones) is a struggling attorney and new mother who faces adversity and numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights. When she takes on a groundbreaking tax case with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg, she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way the courts view gender discrimination.

Highly recommended.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday (March 25) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday through Friday (March 26-29) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

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