Support This Site
When You Buy My Books
E.C. McMullen Jr.
"'Some People' ... may be the standout story in the book."
- John Grant, Infinityplus
E.C. McMullen Jr.
"'Willow Blue' will burrow under your skin and stay there long after you've put the book down."
- Jeffrey Reddick, Creator of
IN OTHER BOOKS
E.C. McMullen Jr.'s
CEDO LOOKED LIKE PEOPLE
in the anthology
FEAR THE REAPER
"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
- Amazon Review
The Silver Scream
E.C. McMULLEN Jr.,
GEORGE A. ROMERO,
and many more.
Extensively quoted in
The Unauthorized Companion
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
There are many types of stories that I enjoy and there are many ways to tell a story. One thing that all good stories have in common is that they keep taking you into intriguing turns, characters, places, the story keeps growing organically. Even if the characters are on a mission or quest to accomplish some specific thing, their adventure (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN), survival (EVENT HORIZON), or discovery (MEN IN BLACK), is beyond what they anticipated.
US begins with a crumbling family at a oceanside carnival. There is the distracted and disappointed Mom, Rayne Thomas (Anna Diop: THE MOMENT, THE MESSENGERS [TV], THE KEEPING HOURS). There is inebriated Pop, Russel (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II: THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL) who is trying to make his family happy, and Madison Curry playing a young daughter named Adelaide.
Adelaide tolerates her father's drunken, but well-meaning attention and his attempt to win her every prize she wants at the carnival. The testy-ness between her parents overwhelms her and she wanders off. Unfortunately she wanders into a Fun House that is nowhere near as much fun as it could be. Merry Mishaps Occur.
Now we have a Happy Family on a road trip to their summer vacation home. Pop, Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke: THE MESSENGERS [TV], BLACK PANTHER, INFINITY WAR) is getting into it, telling Dad jokes to his kids: the stereotypical snotty big teen sister, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and his younger son Jason Wilson (Evan Alex), who is carrying something of an identity crisis (he likes to wear a plastic werewolf mask).
The person out of step in the ol' SUV is Mom, a grown-up Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o: NON-STOP, BLACK PANTHER). Her attention is a million miles away and Gabe is trying but failing to bring her back to the moment.
They get to their vacation home and Adelaide is only more skittish.
They go to the beach carnival in Santa Monica and Adelaide is nearly shaking with dread. She isn't normally like this, as this is hardly the first time they've been to their summer home.
When Jason wanders off to go to the bathroom, Adelaide loses it.
Now throughout all of the movie so far there are minute hints that all is not right and Adelaide, while certainly seeming a bit paranoid, is not far off the mark. Yes she is paranoid but not by much.
Of course it helps to know that we are watching a Horror movie so yes, the shit will definitely hit the fan.
My point here is Writer and Director Jordan Peele (GET OUT) doesn't try to pretend that his audience doesn't know where they are. There are no overly happy misdirections as if the audience can be lulled into a false sense of security. Instead, he plays out the dread, its direction, and expands upon it.
Things appear to come to a head only in Adelaide's mind when, seemingly safe in their summer home, she wants to leave now. We know that she is right but it makes sense why her family cannot fathom what is going on with her.
Then strangers appear outside in the dark. We soon see that they are dopplegangers of the Wilson family, and like the legendary dopplegangers, they are vicious and mean to kill and replace the Wilsons, one by one.
Jordan narrows the focus to a single family as if the danger is only their problem. 15 minutes into the movie and I was wondering if Jordan had showed his hand too early. Everything is set in place and, is this going to be a STRANGERS or PURGE where the rest of the movie is cat and mousing about with singular deaths and narrow escapes until the audience is nearly numb by it all?
Instead Peele scales up the Horror. The terror is bigger than Adelaide knows. It's bigger than Adelaide imagined, until it all seems insurmountable.
I love many types of Horror story telling and, when a movie does it right, I love this method as well.
There aren't a lot of twists and turns in US. Instead, Peele takes us on a journey that is far bigger than the movie trailer suggested.
When the big reveal was finally shown, it was told in tons of exposition. Fortunately Peele used the Roger Corman method of having the exposition become narration overlaying action.
At first I didn't get into the reveal. But after the lights came up and I thought about it, it made more sense. Jordan wisely avoided the cliched pitfalls (it's a government conspiracy! It's a corporate conspiracy! It's a Illuminati conspiracy! Ugh!) that felled many an otherwise brilliant movie.
Flying full fire to the very end, US left me breathless!
|Feo Amante's Horror Home Page, Feo Amante's Horror Thriller, and feoamante.com are owned and
Copyright 1997 - 2020 by E.C.McMullen Jr.
All images and text belong to E.C.McMullen Jr. unless otherwise noted.
All fiction stories belong to their individual authors.