HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: US

Starring

Lupita Nyong’o (Little Monsters)
Winston Duke (Black Panther)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
Madison Curry
Ashley McKoy
Shahadi Wright Joseph (The Lion KIng)
Evan Alex (Mani)
Tim Heidecker (The Comedy)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman)
Anna Diop (Titans)
Kara Hayward (Drunk Bus)
Dustin Ybarra (Gotham)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)

Lupita Nyong'o, Evan Alex, and Shahadi Wright Joseph in Us (2019)In 1986, young Adelaide Thomas goes on vacation with her parents to Santa Cruz. At the beach, she wanders off while her father is playing whack-a-mole and enters a funhouse, where she encounters a doppelgänger of herself in the hall of mirrors. When her parents eventually find her, she is unable to speak. In the present day, the adult Adelaide, who has since recovered her speech, heads to her family’s lake house in Santa Cruz with her husband, Gabe Wilson, and their two children, Zora and Jason. She is apprehensive about the trip, but Gabe brushes off her misgivings while eager to impress their rich friends, Josh and Kitty Tyler. They meet the Tyler family at the Santa Cruz beach. After arriving, Jason wanders off and sees a man standing alone with his arms outstretched, blood dripping from his hands. When she realizes Jason is missing, Adelaide panics, and the family leaves the beach as soon as he is found.Lupita Nyong'o in Us (2019)That night, a family of four dressed in red appears in the Wilsons’ driveway. They break into the Wilsons’ home and attack them. The Wilsons quickly realize the four intruders are doppelgängers of themselves, led by Adelaide’s double, Red. The only one who speaks, Red explains that the doppelgängers are called the Tethered, that they share a soul with their counterparts, and that they have come to “untether” themselves. Red tells them the story of a girl who is loved and happy while her “shadow” was in the dark and was suffering. The family is separated by their doppelgängers: Red makes Adelaide handcuff herself to a table, Zora is pursued by Umbrae, Gabe is pursued by Abraham, and Jason is sent to “play” with Pluto in the closet. Zora evades Umbrae and Gabe manages to kill Abraham, while Jason discovers that Pluto mirrors his actions and manages to lock him in the closet. Red is drawn away by Pluto’s cries, allowing Adelaide to break free. The family regroups and escapes on their boat.Lupita Nyong'o in Us (2019)Meanwhile, the Tyler family is murdered by their Tethered. The Wilsons arrive and realize what has happened, eventually killing the Tylers’ doubles and turning on the news to see that millions of Tethered have been murdering their counterparts across the nation. The doppelgängers subsequently join hands together to form a massive human chain. As the Wilsons drive away in the Tylers’ car, they are attacked by Umbrae but manage to kill her. As day breaks, the Wilsons arrive at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, where they find the road blocked by their own car, which has been set on fire. Pluto has set a trap for the Wilsons, standing over a gasoline trail with a match. Jason, remembering that Pluto imitates his actions, makes Pluto walk backward into the fire. Red reappears and abducts Jason, making Adelaide run after them.Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Evan Alex, and Shahadi Wright Joseph in Us (2019)While Zora and Gabe recuperate in an abandoned ambulance, Adelaide returns to the funhouse and finds a secret tunnel in the hall of mirrors. It leads to an underground facility overrun by rabbits, where Adelaide finds Red. Red explains her belief that the Tethered were clones, created by humans to control their counterparts on the surface. However, the effort failed and the Tethered were abandoned underground for generations, mindlessly copying the actions of their surface counterparts, until Red organized them to escape and take revenge. The two fight, with Red anticipating and countering all of Adelaide’s attacks. Adelaide finally manages to overpower her and impales her, then breaks Red’s neck with her handcuffs. She finds Jason hidden in a locker.Evan Alex in Us (2019)Adelaide drives the family away in the ambulance and recalls the night she met Red in the hall of mirrors. It is revealed that Red is the real Adelaide and the surviving Adelaide is the doppelgänger. That night in 1986, the doppelgänger choked the real Adelaide unconscious, damaging her vocal cords, dragged her underground, handcuffed her to a bed, and took her place in the surface world, revealing why she couldn’t speak after being found and why Red is the only clone that could speak. While the Wilsons drive off, Jason gives his mother looks of scepticism, implying that he has realised that she is the doppelgänger, as the Tethered have joined hands across the country with news helicopters hovering above.“Us” is a step further in Peele’s horror filmography. It is a film with layers that are unfolding every moment and beyond. And it’s scary. But it is a fear that, beyond violence, comes from the philosophical and psychological reflection of what history shows us. At that point, Peele hit the mark.

REVIEW: WANDRLUST

Starring

Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Jennifer Aniston (Bruce Almighty)
Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder)
Malin Åkerman (Watchmen)
Lauren Ambrose (The Other Woman)
Joe Lo Truglio (Paul)
Alan Alda (The Aviator)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Kerri Kenney-Silver (Downsizing)
Michaela Watkins (Enough Said)
Linda Lavin (Whitewash)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Jessica St. Clair (American Hosuewife)
Mather Zickel (Bones)

Joe Lo Truglio and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)George and Linda Gergenblatt are an urban married couple who purchase a micro-loft in New York after much hesitation. George is expecting a promotion while Linda is trying to sell a documentary to HBO. Soon after purchasing their home, George learns that his company has folded, overnight, while HBO rejects Linda’s documentary. With both out of work, they are forced to sell their apartment and drive to Atlanta to live with George’s arrogant brother Rick and his wife Marisa after Rick offers George a job.Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman, and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)After many hours on the highway, Linda demands they stop to rest. The closest place to stop appears to be a bed and breakfast hotel named Elysium. After exiting the highway, as they approach, they are surprised to see a naked man walking ahead of them. He approaches them. Startled and apprehensive, George tries to back up to the highway, but accidentally flips the car over. The nude man, Wayne Davidson, helps them out of the car, and they are forced to stay at the hotel. They meet several colorful guests, and then go to bed. While trying to sleep, they are distracted by noises downstairs. When they go to investigate, they learn that Elysium is a hippie commune. They meet various eccentric residents of Elysium, including Seth, Eva, and Elysium’s owner Carvin. George and Linda spend the night feeling more alive than before. In the morning, everyone helps flip the car back upright so they can leave, as Seth urges them to stay, but they continue on to Atlanta.Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)George and Linda arrive at Rick’s house and find the atmosphere chaotic. George quickly reaches a breaking point with Rick and takes Linda back to Elysium, where they are welcomed back. George is excited about the simpler lifestyle while Linda is hesitant. They decide to stay and give the place a two-week trial run. After a few days, Linda starts feeling enlightened after drinking some drug laced tea in the truth circle, while George begins having second thoughts. George and Linda soon learn that ‘free love’ is strongly encouraged as Seth and Eva want to seduce Linda and George, respectively. Both George and Linda rebuff the notion of free love, and several crazy situations arise during that period, bizarre and otherwise.Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux in Wanderlust (2012)At the same time, Elysium is being targeted by property developers to build a casino on the property, as title to the property is disputed, and Carvin has misplaced the deed to the land. After the developers arrive with a bulldozer, to make a TV reporting-crew take more interest, Linda scares them off by flashing them her breasts, and many of the other residents join her, which gets sensationalized coverage, and halts the proceeding. Linda is lauded as a hero by the commune. The two weeks are up, and George demands that they leave, saying that if they stay, they would have to give in to ‘free love’. Linda wants to stay and has sex with Seth. George is pressured to have sex with Eva, but he becomes uncomfortable and drives her away with his awkward and bizarre behavior. The next morning, George reaches a breaking point, again, stating that he dislikes the rules of Elysium and wants to leave. Linda wants to stay, so George goes back to Rick’s house alone.Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)Seth believes he has found his soul mate in Linda and searches for the deed to Elysium, which he finds and sells to the property developers, for $11,000, to start a new life with Linda, betraying the commune. A child from the commune witnesses the burning of the deed by Seth and the man that wants to build the casino. Seth tells Linda he wants them to leave Elysium behind, together, and that the others can look after themselves. Linda refuses. In the meantime, George realizes he loves Linda and comes back to find her, getting into a fight with Seth while the commune looks on and tries to help ‘non-violently’. The child that witnessed the burning of the deed by Seth tells the commune what happened and George punches Seth in the jaw.Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman, Lauren Ambrose, Kerri Kenney, Joe Lo Truglio, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Peter Salett, Kathryn Hahn, and Jordan Peele in Wanderlust (2012)In the aftermath, the news show that visited Elysium does a follow-up story about the commune. George and Linda start a publishing company, with their first book being a political thriller novel written by Wayne. The novel is then fast-tracked into a film adaptation starring Ray Liotta. Carvin reclaims his rights to Elysium after he is reunited with all the original founders of Elysium, one of whom had another copy of the deed. In a post-credits scene, Marisa is a cast member of the television reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta.Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman, Kerri Kenney, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, and Peter Salett in Wanderlust (2012)Take this film at face value and suspend your disbelief, take off your critic hat and just enjoy!