Jordan Peele’s new horror movie, Us, is a suspenseful cat-and-mouse game between a family of four and their doppelgangers, called the “tethereds.” The tethered versions of the family are completely identical, except they live their lives underground, deprived of the joys of life. The movie starts off seemingly innocent and calm with the Wilson family, consisting of Adelaide and Gabe and their children Jason and Zora, going on vacation, giving the viewer a sense of normality and comfort. However, strange coincidences begin happening as the family returns to Santa Cruz, a site of trauma for Adelaide when she was younger.
The build up to something more sinister at play soon becomes apparent when Jordan Peele skillfully weaves small but meaningful symbols of duality, while coincidences throughout the introduction hint at the meaning of duplication in the movie. Every single little element of the movie is intentional in creating a powerful atmosphere; from the first second to the closing scene, every color, placement of objects and visual is intentional to the movie’s main themes. The movie is truly worth seeing not only once, but twice to pick up small details used for foreshadowing. Rabbits are a common theme in the movie, shown as common animals used in science experiments, symbolizing the experiments that the tethered must endure underground. Furthermore, golden scissors are used as the tethereds weapon of choice, and are a symbolic way of showing separation of the two bodies.
Unlike other directors, Peele manages to keep the movie unpredictable and non-formulaic. Rather than the use of tacky jump scares, Peele utilizes unsettling visuals combined with strange, off-key music to creep out the viewer. When watching Us, you’ll be immersed in the storyline as Peele has the uncanny ability to make the audience feel the same terror and panic the Wilson family feels when being hunted. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke deliver incredible performances acting as their normal selves along with their doppelganger versions. Despite the constant suspense, Peele still drops in scenes of comic relief to help alleviate the almost unbearable tension throughout the movie.
Through horror, Peele depicts the great divide between America and other minority groups through the tethered and the non-tethered. Horror fanatic or not, Us is the perfect film to watch this spring with friends and family. It’s a wonderfully horrifying movie that will leave you looking behind your shoulder for days. Be sure to catch Us while it’s still in theatres!
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