Jordan Peele’s deeply disturbing US arrives on 4K/Blu-Ray this week and while it’s light on bonus features, it’s a film that certainly values multiple viewings. Come inside for my full review of this week’s new release!
While US was one of the few films I was able to catch in theaters, I sadly was a few weeks behind its release and was unable to really discuss it on the site. I have to say, though, it’s a film that has stuck with me from then all the way to when I was able to watch it again on the blu-ray. I’m not exaggerating here, every few days (or so) I’d find myself struck by a random thought about the film. Whether it was character related a connection I’d missed and looked back on, or one of the various themes presented in the film...These thoughts would come, unbidden, into my head.
This is where the true power of Jordan Peele’s latest lies. Upon first watching the film, I thought it was certainly interesting and I enjoyed the experience. At the time, I couldn’t exactly say whether I “LIKED” it or thought it was good...But like I said, I found myself unable to stop thinking about it. As I turned the events of the film over and over in my head I found myself more enthralled by the ideas of the story and the characters we followed.
It turned from a simple film, into an experience for me. Ostensibly, the basics of the film are fairly simple. A family on Summer vacation find themselves inexplicably stalked/confronted by their doppelgangers. As they struggle to survive the night, a bigger mystery begins to unfold. There’s a lot more depth to it, including a shocking revelation and world-wide implications.
If you haven’t seen the movie, however, I won’t go into more details on the plot. Watch it unravel for yourself is a big part of the fun. As for the blu-ray experience, I will absolutely tell you that it’s a story that holds up well upon the second viewing. Hell, US feels like a film that is DESIGNED to be watched over and over again. I’ve seen it a couple times since getting the blu-ray in hand and my appreciation for the story has grown each time.
The characters are still compelling (and wonderfully acted), while the tension remains high and pervasive throughout. US manages to retain that sense of creeping fear even though you know what’s coming and I imagine I’ll be able to enjoy it every time I pop it in the player.
Sight and Sound
US is a gorgeous looking film and filled with some very striking imagery. As such, I’m happy to say that the blu-ray transfer is excellent and makes it all stand out. The blacks are sufficently deep and don’t lead into any sort of crushing. This is necessary considering how much of the film takes place in very low light (or near total dark) situations. The image remains crisp and clear no matter the lighting, and the skin tones and other colorful moments pop off the screen all the more because of the clarity.
The sound design, which is always particularly important when it comes to the horror genre, is treated equally well. The surround sound immerses you into the film, as you hear the sounds of the forest around you, while the doppelgangers hunt the characters down. It provides all the eeriness without sacrificing the dialog track. From a technical perspective, the US blu-ray does everything to highlight the film itself.
Jordan Peele’s US comes with a DVD copy of the film, a digital code, and a handful of special features:
The Duality of US – Jordan Peele goes in-depth on some of the key themes and imagery in US– including Doppelgängers, Hands Across America, The Nutcracker dance scene, rabbits and the infamous 11:11 coincidence.
The Monsters Within US – Examine how the great cast were able to find their characters, whether they were playing one of the Wilsons or their sinister doppelgängers.
Tethered Together: Making US Twice – Making of a movie is hard. Making a movie where all the main cast play dual roles can be downright mind-bending. In this piece, filmmakers, cast, and crew discuss some of the technical challenges to making the film, as well as some of the design choices for the characters.
Redefining a Genre: Jordan Peele’s Brand of Horror – In the space of two films, Jordan Peele has set himself apart as an invaluable artistic voice. Hear cast and filmmakers highlight what makes him so unique, as well as Jordan’s own thoughts on his inspirations and the relationship between horror and comedy.
Becoming Red – Using behind-the-scenes footage from between takes, we take a closer look at Lupita Nyong’o’s intense and mesmerizing performance as “Red.”
- I Am Not Even Near You
- Rabbit Season
- That’s Badass
- The P is Silent
- I Wanna Go Home
We’re All Dying – Hilarious outtakes from the conversation between Winston Duke and Tim Heidecker on the beach.
As Above, So Below: Grand Pas de Deux – An extended version of the dance sequence from the film, cutting between adolescent Adelaide at her recital to Red in the Underpass.
All told the bonus features come in a little under an hour, which feels fairly hefty for a horror movie, but honestly...they weren’t all that exciting. The behind the scenes featurettes meander quite a bit, rarely staying on point and thus don’t feel comprehensive. A few of the film’s deleted scenes are incredibly short and completely makes sense for why they were cut. All in all, there’s some interesting tidbits to find, but there’s little here you’ll find yourself coming back to more than once.