"Us" is a masterfully executed and viscerally terrifying thriller. Set along the Northern California coastline of Santa Cruz, Adelaide Wilson (Nyong'o) reluctantly returns to her beachside childhood home with her family and finds that she is haunted by unresolved trauma from her past along with a string of eerie coincidences. As darkness falls after a tense day at the beach and boardwalk, the Wilsons discover four figures standing in their driveway. They soon realize this is only the beginning of their troubles as they find that the four figures are terrifying and uncanny opponents: dopplegangers of themselves. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the following featurettes: "Scene Explorations," "The Duality Of Us," "The Monsters Within Us," "Tethered Together: Making Us Twice," "Redefining A Genre: Jordan Peele's Brand Of Horror," "We're All Dying," and "So Above, So Below: Grand Pas e Deux"; six deleted scenes; upfront previews (Blu-ray); and a Movies Anywhere digital code.
The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally in anamorphic Panavision® using the Arri Alexa Mini and Arii Alexa STX camera systems and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. The wide color gamut is warmly and richly hued, as well as saturated, along with perfectly natural fleshtones. Primaries are strong. Fire images are effectively realistic. And the Santa Cruz Boardwalk is beautifully colorful and textured, especially in the nighttime scenes. The Dolby Vision color grading exhibits deep-night-sky blacks and vibrant amusement park lights with excellent luminance. HDR contrast is excellent with deep and diverse black levels and shadows that are distinctively revealing, along with bright lightening accents. Both interior and exterior settings exhibit excellent clarity and sharpness, as well as fine textural delineation. Close-ups reveal facial features with excellent and intimate detail. Darker scenes, of which there are many, are nicely revealing of textural detail. WOW! segments are from 05:28 to 08:34, 30;22 to 35:04, 38:04 to 42:56, 53:28 to 55:42, 01:03:00 to 01:03:48, 01:29:14 to 01:29:28 and 1:43:16 to 01:44:40. This is a fear-inducing visual experience that rattles the nerves with creative cinematography that deserves viewing in a dark environment, with no lights on. It delivers intense scares. (Gary Reber)
The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is a wonderful orchestral/choral score that plays a major supportive role in the soundtrack. The score is rhythmic with effective bass drum accents. Deep and intense bass supports powerful sound effects, which also are directional with excellent spatial depth. Every nuanced sound effect and Foley execution is realistic sounding. Dialogue is intelligible throughout with at times the ADR recording remarkably integrated spatially, though, some segments are wanting in integration. Every sound element is executed with superb fidelity and delivers an intense and involved presentation of soundscapes. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk background amusements elicit a perfectly natural atmospheric feel. The opening sequence with powerful ocean waves and the amusement ambience heard is an indication of dynamics to come. Every discrete channel is used to create fear and suspense and draw "Us" into the movie's frightening premise.
The Immersive Sound element is comprised of primarily the intense orchestral/choral score extension, some enveloping ambiances, and sound effects. The opening Vision Quest haunted house has a male voice speaking accompanied by music, followed by strong choral voicings. Other effects include a yell out by the male duplicate of the family, a women's voice on a second floor, and other voices, all very brief. Far more atmospherics and sound effects could have enhanced the height layer. But the dramatic music is very powerful and effectively enhances the sense of sonic dimensionality.
This is an effective holosnoic® spherical surround soundtrack that brings haunting realism to the fear and violence portended by the story's unfolding. This is a terrific reference-quality experience. (Gary Reber)