Accompanied by her husband, son, and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a child. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that something bad is going to happen. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. When the masks come off, the family is horrified to learn that each attacker takes the appearance of one of them.
I’m finding it difficult to say too much about this film without spoiling for you, but I’ll try to just touch on the highlights of the movie…if that’s what you’d like to call them. First things first, I think it was about 30 minute into the movie when I caught myself asking WTF was I watching. Us goes downhill pretty fast after about the 30-minute mark. I felt myself getting lost. And quickly. Horror is a passion of mine and has been since I was a kid, so it sort of bothers me a little when I’m either not getting something or the movie ends up being so ridiculous that I forget I’m watching horror at all. In the case of this movie, I think it could have been both.
The movie starts off promisingly, with starting out in the year of 1986, where a commercial is being shown on an old TV set with a commercial for an upcoming “Hands Across America” fundraiser to end hunger and homelessness, a real-life event that occurred on the beachfront in Santa Cruz, on May 25, 1986. It was supposed to be a benefit and PR stunt where over 6 million people were to hold hands for fifteen minutes, building a human chain across the entire United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Huh.
Anyhoo, we discover that a young Adelaide (Madison Curry), is on a vacation with her parents as they venture to a seaside amusement park for a day of fun and excitement. While Adelaide’s mother is in the restroom, and her father is playing some silly Whack-A-Mole game, she wanders off onto a deserted part of the Santa Cruz beach. Soon she stumbles upon a vacant building that looks like a house of mirrors, complete with a creepy and bright yellow sign which read, “Find Yourself”. Curious, like any child that age would be, she eases herself inside to explore. As she aimlessly walks around, she comes face to face with another child that looks exactly like her. She quickly realizes that it’s not her reflection but a true-to-life replica of herself in every detail, right down to her clothing, shoes, and hair. Adelaide is so shocked that we think she is going to just freeze up, but she suddenly turns and runs out without ever looking back.
The movie then picks back up at present-day, with a grown-up Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) who is now married with two children. They are on vacation but plan to meet up with some old friends, oddly enough, right back in Santa Cruz, California, the same place that caused all her childhood trauma all those years ago. Adelaide is visibly shaken as her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), and two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) all drive to the remote California beach house. Once the family returns to the Santa Cruz cabin, they discover that they are all being stalked by a group of doppelgängers intent on doing them harm. When they look outside, they see four figures, clad in red, holding hands, and standing in their driveway. Next, we see the intruders forcing their way into the family’s cabin, with Gabe asking them, “Who are you people?” To which Adelaide’s doppelgänger calmly and expressionlessly replies, “We’re Americans.”
From that moment, the moment the intruders opened their mouths to talk, I began finding myself cringing a lot. Their voices were so insanely and unbelievably stupid that it would have been better for them to have not said anything at all. It’s not that this film was particularly bad because I’ve seen way worse, it’s just that I expected and hoped for so much more…especially coming from Mr. Peele. All of the characters, except that of Adelaides, were for the most part very bland and boring. The cinematography, creepy atmosphere and the overall pacing of the film were all on spot, but there were so very many plot holes, and so very many unanswered questions, that it left you hopelessly empty. By the time I left the theater I didn’t even care to have any of them answered, I just simply did not care anymore. And the ending credit section makes you believe there may even be a follow up to this one? Hmm, I’m probably going to pass if so…
Release Date: March 22, 2019
Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Genre: Horror, Suspense, Mystery
Studio: Universal Pictures
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
MPAA Rated: R
Director(s): Jordan Peele
Reviewed by: Mike Davidson
Our Rating: 2.4 /5
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