My wife and I finally had the chance to sit down at watch the movie "Us" this past weekend. Ever since we saw "Get Out", we wanted to see what Jordan Peele would do next. What he did with "Get Out", given his comedy background, was outstanding and unexpected for me. I know it shouldn't have been, given his love for horror movies, but I was still very pleasantly surprised by how awesome "Get Out" was.
So, I waited, as did my wife, with anticipation to his follow up. When I first saw the poster for "Us", I was intrigued. It was simply a pair of scissors and a couple of outlines and the same person. Then the trailers started to come. I watched 2 of them, just to get the premise. When the movie was in theaters, we couldn't find a weekend that worked out, or even a weekday. It is harder and harder to get out of the house the older my kids get, unless it involves one of their activities. So, as I said, we had an open weekend night, we put the kids to bed a little early and rented the movie off our TV.
Now, I need to say, there will be some spoilers, but this movie has been out for some time now, and if you wanted to see it, you already have I assume. But, if you have not yet, I suggest watching it before you read my review. Okay, got that out of the way.
"Us" is amazing. I loved every single second of this movie. While it had funny parts in it, just like "Get Out", "Us" is much more of a straight forward horror movie. Now, that is not to say that it has the jump scares like your cliché horror movie. I would describe the movie more as a psychological thriller, which I enjoy. This movie still has me thinking about it today, and we watched it this past Saturday. That is the sign of a great movie, as I have said many times. From the very opening scene, to the end, I was on pins and needles. I was clutching my wife's hand so hard that she had to pull it away for a moment. She said she was sweating from fear the whole time. The horror of the movie got to us for sure.
"Us" takes place in California, and it is, in my opinion, meeting the worst part of yourself. The family in the movie each has their own doppelganger who is the evil version of themselves. When they arrive on the doorstep of the home of the main family, that was when shit got wild. Winston Duke plays the dad, Gabe. He is great. He thinks he is the leader of the family. He thinks he is the tough guy. He is not. He is only fooling himself. And when he meets his evil twin, The Tethered they're called, you can see his insecurities. Shahadi Wright Joseph plays Zora, the teenage daughter addicted to her phone. Her evil Tethered is faster and way more ruthless than Zora will ever be. Zora is the butt kicker in the family. She is the one that acts and doesn't think. Her Tethered is even more intense. Evan Alex plays Jason, the son and magician of the family. His Tethered is a pyromaniac that happens to have the ability to move fast and do the tricks Jason cannot do. And when the Tethered Jason takes off his mask, Jason wears a Chewbacca mask throughout, it was horrifying. And then there is Adelaide, played excellently by Lupita Nyong’o. She is scared and overly protective of her children. Her Tethered, Red, is insane, and has a plan to take over the US.
When the movie starts, we see a young Adelaide at a carnival, and she wanders off to a hall of mirrors. In here is where she first meets her Tethered. That whole introductory scene is intense and scary as hell. We then see Adelaide after the incident, and she is in a therapist's office with her folks because she isn't talking due to trauma. We come to find out that she has grown up, married and had the 2 kids I mentioned. They return to the same spot every year with their friends, played by Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker, who are hilarious and clearly have animosity towards each other. But, things keep happening to Adelaide that are starting to freak her out. She is starting to remember her childhood trauma. She tells Gabe that she wants to leave one night, and that is when the Tethered family shows up at their doorstep. We come to find out that Red, Adelaide's doppelganger, has a plan for all the Tethered to take over the US, like I said. She has all her minions doing her work. See, everyone in this universe has a doppelganger of their own that happens to be a murderous psychopath. Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss each have one that gets them. Same with their daughters. The random people on the boardwalk have doppelgangers. There is a scene where a newscaster is reporting the story, and he gets slashed by his own doppelganger. It is creepy as hell. While this is going on, the main family is picking off their doppelgangers one by one. You come to realize that they are carbon copies of you, so what you do, they do. Duke gets his by bashing his head on boat motor, knocking him unconscious and sending him in the water to drown. Zora's doppelganger is in a race all night to get Zora, and eventually, she gets ramped off a car and struck by a tree. Jason sees his doppelganger hanging out by a big car fire, and makes him walk backwards into the fire, causing him to self immolate. As he is doing this though, he gets kidnapped by Red.
This is where shit gets crazy. We come to find out that Red has this plan for all the Tethered to join hands across the US like "Hands Across America". She has had this plan since she was a child. She wants all the people she has been with to experience a real life, just like Adelaide and her family. The fight scene after Red explains all this to Adelaide is amazing and scored beautifully. It is a ballet, something they reference a lot. Adelaide does eventually get Red in the end, and we think everything is okay. We think everything is going back to normal.
Here comes the major spoiler people.
What we come to realize, what Adelaide realizes as she is driving off with her family in an ambulance, is that she is not who she thinks she is. Adelaide is actually the Tethered. She is the one that Red saw in the hall of mirrors. Red was abducted by Adelaide when they were children. Adelaide assumed the role of her because she likes, and wants, chaos. There are little clues throughout the whole movie, but none make sense until after you have already watched the whole thing. I was absolutely stunned by this twist. When Adelaide realizes who she really is, she looks at Jason who is sitting up front with her, and they both smile, as if to say, they know who each other is. It was such a frightening way to end such a well crafted horror movie. It was stunning.
I loved "Us". Jordan Peele most definitely stayed away from the dreaded sophomore slump. He knocked it out of the park. Now I cannot wait to see what he does next, even more so than I did after seeing "Get Out". "Us" is wonderful, and I highly recommend watching it if you have a spare couple hours. You will not regret it, and you will think about it over and over again. What a great movie.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. His double is just like Ty except that the double is a huge Ohio State fan. That is true horror.
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