Us (2019)

Jordan Peele who previously gained huge success with Get Out (2017), is coming back with yet another horror movie, Us. This movie starring Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther & Star Wars) as Adelaide Wilson, Winston Duke (Black Panther & Avengers: Infinity War) as Gabriel Wilson, Shahadi Wright Joseph (upcoming The Lion King remake) as Zora Wilson, and Evan Alex as Jason Wilson. The story follows this family during their vacation when suddenly, one night, they got attacked by their doppelgängers.

Us (2019)


Accompanied by her husband, son and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a child. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that something bad is going to happen. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. When the masks come off, the family is horrified to learn that each attacker takes the appearance of one of them.

As a huge fan of Get Out (2017), I couldn’t be more excited when I heard the news about this movie. I believe that Jordan Peele could bring something more than just jump scares or terrifying monsters, and I was right. Taking a look at his previous movie, it’s obvious that Jordan Peele was being consistent by bringing deeper issues within his movies. But before we get into the heavier analysis and theories, I want to give a massive appreciation for the multiple brilliant, chilling, and uncomfortably-scary shots throughout this movie. Because hands down, it’s easy to make a jump scare, but to make your audience feel uneasy from a two minutes close-up shot of rabbits? Only geniuses can do that.

Not to mention the casts’ performances in this movie. Playing double characters is surely a huge challenge. How can you convince the audience that they are two different people when they look physically the same? While most people praised the excellent acting from Lupita Nyong’o, not that I disagree, because that stares and voice cracks still haunted me for several days after watching the movie, I’d like to give a special spotlight to Shahadi Wright Joseph! This is my first time to see her performance and it was incredible. At some point, I truly thought that Fake Zora is scarier than Fake Adelaide. Her sly smiles and laughter are certainly something that you won’t easily forget after leaving the cinema.

If you haven’t watched the movie and don’t want to get spoiled, this is a warning for you because the next part will be full of spoilers!

If Get Out (2017) focused on racial issues, Us (2019) was a bit vaguer since it really depends on how you interpreted it. I personally feel that the different scenes in this movie have different meanings, so the whole movie is not really about one particular thing. Starting from the existence of doppelgängers that attacked the Wilson family. Despite being doppelgängers, they actually had their own personalities which represent the nature of human being. You can never truly know someone, as a human has layers of personality which will show up differently around different people or environment. Multiple psychological researches stated that human reacts based on those expectations surrounding them. Aside from the doppelgängers, it can also be seen on how little Adelaide (or should I say little Fake Adelaide) behaved after she came back to her parents. She learned to adjust to her new environments and she learned how to socialize with people. She successfully kept her secret for years, maybe even forgetting the truth about her past, but we can see her true form in the last killing scene when she let off the grunts and animal-like sounds. This shows how someone may change in a new environment, but once they get cornered into their “old” environment, their instinct will take over and spontaneously reacts. I also think this has a strong correlation with the mirror scene, as the mirror represents the hidden personalities and traits that you won’t be able to notice at a glance.

This movie was probably not as heavy as Get Out (2017), but it sure does spark many interesting points. The other message that I got from this movie is about the matter of consumerism and economic inequality. The Wilson family as the main leads came to the Santa Cruz beach and stayed at their summer house. They drove a nice car. They had enough. But, this is until the neighbors showed up being richer, had a better house and even a better boat, which turns out to be the actual reason for Gabe to buy his own boat in the first place. Jealousy is the main motive of their consumerism. Ironically, this is exactly the main reason why doppelgängers came up to the ground and attacked the Wilsons. The feeling of inequality and not getting justice. Again, this is not a critical analysis whatsoever. It’s rather just one of the point that caught my attention and I think it deserves to be discussed more.

There are also multiple Easter Eggs throughout the movie. Did you notice how little Adelaide wearing Michael Jackson – Thriller, shirt? Where, apparently, he wore a red jacket and pants and also one glove in the music video? Did you notice that glove on Fake Adelaide? Which again, apparently, looks very similar to Freddy Krueger’s gloves? Remember that Freddy had burn scars on his face and the same thing can also be found on Fake Jason. The resemblance of burning fire can also be seen on how Fake Jason died. And the obvious one is the scattered appearances of rabbit throughout the movie because the doppelgängers consumed them. Do you spot any other Easter Eggs?

Overall, Us is that kind of movie that you need to watch several times in order to really absorbs any clue that you missed during the first watch, which turns out to be a lot.  It was clever, full of controversial issues and deserves spotlight as one of the best horror of the year.

★★★★½

Have you watched this movie? What do you think of it? Do you have any theories that you want to share?

This review can also be found on The Nerd Daily.

Escape Room (2019)

To be completely honest, I have no idea about this movie until I saw the trailer last week before How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World started. With that being said, yes, I was drawn into this movie solely because of its trailer. But the other reason is because I’m also a big fan of one room thriller. It turns out not quite literally for this movie, but the concept is basically still the same.

Escape Room

Directed by Adam Robitel. Starring Taylor Russel, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis and Nik Dodani. Released on January 4, 2019 (US). Classified as Action, Horror & Thriller.

Six adventurous strangers travel to a mysterious building to experience the escape room — a game where players compete to solve a series of puzzles to win $10,000. What starts out as seemingly innocent fun soon turns into a living nightmare as the four men and two women discover each room is an elaborate trap that’s part of a sadistic game of life or death.

[su_spoiler title=”→ Trigger Warnings!” style=”simple”]Blood, death, flashing images, violence.[/su_spoiler]

[su_button url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dSKUoV0SNI” target=”blank” size=”5″ style=”flat” background=”#6e7d75″ color=”#ffffff” left=”yes” radius=”square”]WATCH THE TRAILER[/su_button]

★★★½

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]REVIEW[/su_heading]

As I said before, I’m a massive fan of [su_highlight background=”#f0e7da” color=”#000000″]one room thriller.[/su_highlight] If you have no idea what that means, it’s basically a thriller movie which take place in one area only. It doesn’t necessarily means that it’s a low budget movie, if that’s what you’re thinking. Most of the one room thrillers spent a low budget, it’s a fact. But I think it got its own beauty with how tricky everything is. How can the director and writer keep the audiences’ attention in such small area? There’s no room for exploration, literally. So, it’s very important to keep the story and characters strong. Oh, and how can we talk about thriller if there’s no twist in it? Talk about pushing creativity at its max.

The premise was certainly not a ground-breaker. [su_highlight background=”#f0e7da” color=”#000000″]Escape, or die.[/su_highlight] But here’s the thing. People keep coming and coming for this premise, including me, whether it’s in books or movies. I guess there really is something about watching human fighting for their survival. However, this premise has been filmed many times with many different versions and twists, so don’t set your expectation too high. Although it’s quite entertaining, it’s not strong or memorable enough. You’ll probably forget most of it after 12 hours out of the cinema. Now, let’s get into more details, including plot, characters and my super subjective chatty talks. There will be some spoilers (because how on earth I could rant without explaining the actual rant?!), but don’t worry because it will be hidden until you decided to open it. Just like the room.

Escape Room is basically a combination of [su_highlight background=”#f0e7da”]Cube (1997), Saw (2004) and The Cabin in the Woods (2011).[/su_highlight] I could mentioned more movies there and that shows how unoriginal the plot is. And I don’t say it in a bad way. A premise could be use over and over again by executing it differently. Some movies might focused on the emotional attachment over its characters, but others might tried to impress the audience with super high-tech contributions. [su_highlight background=”#f0e7da”]Surprisingly, Escape Room managed to do both.[/su_highlight] And here’s the thing about Escape Room: It’s a less intelligent version of Cube, a duller villain version of Saw and a less gore version of The Cabin in the Woods.

Where Cube depends on the math geniuses, Escape Room actually managed to let more characters involved with each of their different strengths. Not all of them, unfortunately. I feel this is such a waste opportunity because they did amazing by incorporating three characters already, but the other three just… stand there.

[su_spoiler title=”→ Spoil me the characters!” style=”simple”]

Amanda: She’s tough. You can see that since the first second of her appearance. And turns out, her military experience came in handy for the group.

Ben: He doesn’t really do anything significant for the group. His only input is sarcastic commentary and smokes pollution.

Danny: Our geeky fanboy! I love him, especially when he’s in his fanboy mode. Thank God for him and his knowledge about this type of game, even though it’s probably not as useful as we thought at first.

Jason: He’s a successful Wall Street dude and has a negative vibes going around him. He’s a smart talker, and his expertise is in bullshitting.

Mike: Good guy Mike. Poor Mike. He’s only in because his ‘nephew’ signed him up and he needs the money. Fishing skill never been more important.

Zoey: Sweet girl Zoey. Smart yet shy. The group should thank her for her attention to details. I love her character development the best. [/su_spoiler]

Talking about characters, I realized what’s actually missing from Escape Room is the villain. Don’t be silly. Of course there’s a villain in this movie. Even though we have no idea whether it’s an individual psychopath or a group of scientist gone mad. But what’s missing is the villain’s motivation. [su_highlight background=”#f0e7da”]A villain couldn’t be evil enough if you don’t know his motive.[/su_highlight] Saw, for instance. Aside from its glorious traps and gore scenes, what drives you in? Jigsaw’s motive! You want to know why he became the bad guy. You want to know his pain. And when a movie deliver a villain that could be understand by audience, or even loved, that’s what makes it remarkable.

[su_spoiler title=”→ So, who’s the villain in this movie?!” style=”simple”]

From the beginning, I think it’s pretty clear this ‘room’ was set by an organized institution. And well funded, too. At the end, they didn’t reveal the villain’s face neither their motives, but instead showed us a very much possible sequel. [/su_spoiler]

However, my favorite thing about this movie is its ability to deliver such [su_highlight background=”#f0e7da”]high suspense with a very minimal gore scenes.[/su_highlight] I mean, The Cabin in the Wood was basically a blood bath and Escape Room was really clean, if you insist for a comparison. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention about their crazily loud and heart pounding sound effects. Now that I’m thinking about it, these sound effects are the ones that did all the dirty works instead of the gore effects. So, big props for Brian Tyler and John Carey! Here you can check the entire soundtracks used in this movie!

And now that we talk about technical, this movie was surprisingly cinematic. They really put A+ efforts for the room’s setup and properties. Honestly, I never really expected such beauty to be delivered from this sub-genre. And I gotta admit it, it did feel magical in a few scenes.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

With few good points among the bad, I wouldn’t categorize this movie as a failure. It’s a decent light suspense that will makes your heart pounding just enough, but also laugh because of its sarcasm and comedic bits. If you want to read the complete plot summary and don’t mind the spoilers, you can read it here.

[su_heading size=”14″ margin=”5″]Have you watched this movie? If you haven’t, does my review makes you want to watch it? Or leave it?[/su_heading]

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

I’m probably way too late now to talk about this movie, but seriously, I’ve been watching it like four times already and it’s not healthy. But considering I’ve been watching Love, Simon (2018) way more than that, I’d maybe take the statement back. I didn’t have a very high expectation when I was about to watch, as I haven’t read the book yet. But my timeline was crazily talking about this movie! SO, that’s where my expectation coming from! Without further ado, let’s get into the review, shall we?

Lara Jean Covey writes letters to all of her past loves, the letters are meant for her eyes only. Until one day when all the love letters are sent out to her previous loves. Her life is soon thrown into chaos when her foregoing loves confront her one by one.

First of all, this review will be coming from someone who’s never read the book before. I’ve saw couple of reviews earlier which stated they don’t like the book, but they really like the movie. Therefore, I don’t considered myself to be missed out that much. The movie, however, even as cheesy as it can be, is actually quite enjoyable. Let’s started about the plot. It’s decent and okay-ish (?) in my opinion, has a bit of fan fiction vibes, has commonly used characters (c’mon, a cute protagonist, a cool best friend, a popular evil antagonist, along with ’em boys), and predictable storyline. However, it works and it’s fun to watch. What you can do about it, really? Perhaps it’s the charming actors and actresses (beep beep, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo!) or talk about the power of buzz and viral marketing.

Aside from those commonly used characters, this movie got a few of authentic ones, actually. The chill, laid back and loving single father who apparently also works as gynecologist, check. The feminine, emotional and can be insensitive older sister who study abroad, check. The funny and sassy younger sister who accidentally makes Korean yogurt become a trend, check. Overall, I just love the Covey sisters (and dad!).

[su_quote cite=”Lara Jean Covey”]”‘Cause the more people that you let into your life, the more that can just walk right out.”[/su_quote]

Source: PopSugar

Now, let’s talk about the characters. I found it to be slightly annoying that they don’t dig deeper on certain characters’ personality, like Christine and Gen. Christine is actually an interesting one, although they’re being stereotypical and didn’t really showed us that much aside from her being super cool by saying super cool sentences in super cool tones wearing super cool outfit with her super cool hairdo and makeup after coming back from a super cool concert. We get it, okay. Christine is cool. No need for exaggerating. This sounds like I hated Christine, but I really don’t! I just disappointed because her character got so many potentials. Gen, on the other side, is only shown as the evil ex-girlfriend. What do we know about her? She’s popular, she pursed her lips a lot (just like Emma Roberts’ tutorial on Jimmy Fallon) and surprise, surprise, she used to be the main character’s best friend (typical, much?).

Also, can we give appreciation for sets in this movie?! Lots of them are insanely gorgeous and make me want to live in it. However, the one that really stole the spotlight is going to be Lara Jean’s messy bedroom. What is minimalism? I don’t know her. Bring those 2012 bedroom inspo Tumblr-inspired back, please!

Source: Twitter

This movie is full with clever lines, even witty sometimes! This is my favorite interaction between Lara Jean and Peter:

[su_quote]”Peter: I asked Kitty where to find those yogurt drinks you like so much. // Lara Jean: The Korean grocery store is all the way across town. // Peter: I know. So if I went all the way across town to get you something that you liked, then that means… // Lara Jean: You must really liked yogurt?”[/su_quote]

Rating: ★★★½

[su_heading size=”12″ margin=”10″]Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before | Director: Susan Johnson | Genre: Comedy • DramaRomance | Release Date: August 17, 2018 | Casts: Lana Condor & Noah Centineo | LINKS: LetterboxdNetflixTrailer[/su_heading]

*.·:·.☽✧ Pin this post! ✧☾.·:·.*

Have you watched this movie? If so, what do you think about it? Have you read the book? If so, how was it compared to the movie? Are you looking forward to watch this movie after reading my review? Let me know!