Well then, haven’t written one of these in a while! Us is the second feature film from critically acclaimed director Jordan Peele, who’s debut film Get Out became somewhat of a cult classic. The comedic actor-turned horror director’s second film is darker, eerier and scarier than his first, with more blood, more tension and a more disturbing take on reality than I have seen on screen in a long time.
Oh yeah, spoilers ahead!
Us follows the story of Adelaide (portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o and Madison Curry as her younger self), who had a traumatic experience at Santa Monica beach, going into a room full of mirrors and getting spooked by an apparent doppelganger. For decades she had been suppressing this memory. The film follows her in the present day, with her family comprising of her husband Gabe (portrayed by Winston Duke) and her two children Zora (portrayed by Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Pluto (portrayed by Evan Alex), going on a summer holiday by the beach. After finding out that Gabe wants to take them to Santa Monica beach, Adelaide starts freaking out due to her past experience and trauma. After meeting family friends and briefly losing Pluto, the family gets home safely. Later that night however, they notice a family in the dark, just standing there outside the driveway. After Gabe threatens them, they force their way onto the house. They were identical to the family, only wearing red and carrying a large pair of scissors. The story then basically goes into them escaping this creepy, scary family, trying to find out who they are and what they want.
The film is incredibly well shot, and brilliantly captures Jordan Peele’s storytelling talents with tremendous tension and incredible sequencing. The story is centered around Adelaide and her doppelganger. Lupita Nyong’o’s acting really is Oscar worthy, as she plays a broken, helpless but strong black woman, something that is super refreshing to see. The themes and theories I have are as follows: We already know that the families in red are called the “Tethered” and they originate from an alternative world in the depths of the underground. They act as the suppressed, forgotten alter-ego’s of the people in the film. This society is completely blocked off of the world, not having any freedom or opportunity to rise and to make the most out of their life. This is not only a film about revenge, but taps into the deeper meanings of some of the blind spots of privilege and being in that position of having more opportunities to thrive. The Tethered are looked down on and seen as animals, murderers, people who aren’t worthy. It’s the distressing reality that we live in, as Jordan highlights the bigger picture of the deformities and depressing realities of societal hierarchy and how we see people who don’t have the same freedoms as us. The twist at the end shows exactly what happens when the forgotten ones are given an opportunity to thrive with the opportunities they receive, and how suffocating it can be to be stripped from your freedoms, as Adelaide literally shows with her choked up, suffocated voice throughout the film.
The shot at the end of all the Tethered holding hands and spreading across the landscape of America is a powerful one, exemplifying the vision for The American Dream through a dark, unnerving tone. The film exceeded my personal expectations, as it was scarier, grittier and more captivating to me, at least, than Get Out. And I love Get Out.
So please, go into this film with an open mind as it will surprise you for the better. It’s in cinemas all around the country so go while you can!