“This movie is about this country,” the director Jordan Peele told an audience at the South by Southwest festival on Friday, shortly after the premiere of his sophomore horror feature, Us. The film opened the festival—in the same slot, it’s worth noting, as last year’s A Quiet Place, which went on to smash success—in front of a rapturous audience, already primed by Peele’s beloved 2017 directorial debut, Get Out. “When I decided to write this movie, I was stricken by the fact that we’re in a time where we fear the Other—whether it’s the mysterious invader we think is going to come and kill us or take our jobs, or the faction we don’t live near that voted a different way than us,” Peele went on, according to Dazed. “We’re all about pointing the finger. I wanted to suggest maybe the monster we really need to look at has our face. Maybe the evil is us.”
Well, for all the anticipation set up by Get Out, and for all the big ideas Peele wanted to convey in the film, Us does not disappoint—at least, judging by the unequivocally ecstatic reviews posted to social media following the premiere. (Of course, there’s a grain-of-salt element to early festival reviews, which can sometimes build outsize hype around films that, say, will receive an “F” CinemaScore rating upon their wide release.) Peele was singled out for particular praise—one reviewer went so far as to call him a “modern-day Hitchcock”—but so too were the actors Lupita Nyong’o and Elisabeth Moss, as well as the composer Michael Abels, who wrote the chilling score and who also worked on Get Out.
In the film, Nyong’o stars alongside her Black Panther costar and Yale classmate Winston Duke as one-half of a couple who, while on holiday with their kids, are terrorized by doppelgängers. It looks deeply disturbing—in the words of the Los Angeles Times critic Mark Olsen, “We were not ready.” Read on for some of the choicest praise lavished on Us following its festival premiere this week.