Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning directorial debut, 2017’s “Get Out,” was as much an exploration of the nature of racism as it was a suspenseful horror flick. Horror with a fairly obvious meaning can hit hard: “The Babadook” is a compelling and elegant fright fest, even once you know that the Babadook is grief. But our fears rarely come with a decoder ring. So it’s terrific to see that Peele’s latest film, the home-invasion horror “Us,” is skillful and strange, opening up subterranean levels in the psyche and letting the creatures within come out to play.
“Us” treads some of the most trampled ground in contemporary horror: 1980s nostalgia; guilt and rage over inequality. But it steps with balletic grace. Though its opening set in the ‘80s works as a “spot the reference” game for horror fans—look, it’s the Santa Cruz funfair where they filmed “The Lost Boys”! Look, it’s a “C.H.U.D.” videocassette, on the shelf right above the Rubik’s cube!—it is also much more than that. The film begins the night little Adelaide (Madison Curry) wanders off while her father is distracted by Whac-a-Mole and finds a strange funhouse on the beach (look, it’s “Big”!) where, inside a hall of mirrors, she finds herself staring at the back of her own reflection. Then the girl in the mirror turns around, a smile knifing across her face….
Creepy mirror via Pixabay.