- The Washington Times - Friday, June 21, 2019

The current master of weaving social commentary into a horror film, director and writer Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), offered another blockbuster dose of psychological terror earlier this year.

Now available in 4K, Us (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, rated R, 116 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $39.99) showcases a world of subversive duality that first plays out when a young girl named Adelaide sees a doppelganger of herself at a Santa Cruz beach causing her the inability to speak.

Years later, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) relearns to speak and her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), daughter Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason (Evan Alex) go on vacation back to Santa Cruz and stay a lakefront cabin.

However, something sinister is again at work when their doppelgangers (dressed in red jumpsuits and led by her grown-up twin) visit the family and these self-named Tethered begin terrorizing them.

The movie certainly examines the darker side of humanity, exploring an America where the haves and the have-nots collide at the most grisly of levels.

Yet, I prefer to simply enjoy the ride and not overthink what is ultimately a really intense and intelligent thriller in the finest traditions of “The Shining,” “The Leftovers” “Night of the Living Dead” and “Cabin in the Woods.”

Admittedly, I am not a fan of watching horror films in the ultra-high definition format and this film would have looked great in grindhouse, grainy film stock. Still, I liked the slightly sickly yellow tone that invades the consistently crisp and lifelike presentation that was upscaled to 4K from 2K source material.

What does work great is the immersive Dolby Atmos sound mix that enhances the frights as the door pounding, moaning, ominous whistling and glass breaking blends with an orchestral score that will make nail biting mandatory.

Heck, even an “Omen”-esque chorus of children chanting will cause the occasional round of goosebumps.

Best extras: As it should be, all of the extras are contained on the 4K disc and include four featurettes, a trio of scene breakdowns and nine extended, alternate or deleted scenes.

The best featurettes spend the most time with the director as he reveals some of the movies themes such as a privileged America, those who feel they deserve something at the expense of others and his paying an odd homage to the duality of Michael Jackson and Mr. Peele’s odd interest in Hands Across America.

He also talks about why he loves horror films and boldly declares that, paraphrased, when science meets religion, it can create an abomination such as the human monster.

Suffice it to report, I am looking forward to his next film and wish an optional commentary track with Mr. Peele had also been included.

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