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Jordan Peele’s terrifying critique of America’s historical amnesia is currently in theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 81

Jordan Peele followed up his 2017 smash debut Get Out with Us, a blistering horror allegory about the parts of America’s past we’d rather forget, and the judgement we’ll face for it. Rife with symbols and encroaching apocalyptic dread, Us is a big, ambitious fable about how a society develops willful amnesia, then tears itself to pieces. It’s horror cosplaying as family drama, but it’s not intimate — it’s sweeping, complicated, and anything but dull.

It also works best if you don’t try to pick it apart too much and stitch together a coherent mythology. Us is likely to frustrate people who crave plot points that can be coherently explained and mapped explicitly, directly onto the real world. But that’s what makes it great — it’s a film with endless room for interpretation, and what people see reflected in the film may say less about the film than it does about themselves. More intuitive than explicatory, more visceral than diagrammatic, Us is horrific in a way that hangs onto your gut when it’s all over.

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