Film Review and Breakdown: Us
Are you sure your family is your family? reliable thrills from Jordan peele’s Us
Jordan Peele’s Us turned out to be an awe-inspiring masterpiece in this well-crafted menacing thriller. Following on from his massive horror hit Get Out (2017), Us focuses generally on America as a whole and its political culture.
Caution, this review may contain spoilers
When four doppelgängers terrorise a family of four on their yearly vacation, the family must fight for their lives in order to survive. The film opens with the statement, “There are thousands of miles of tunnels beneath the continental US”, setting the eerie scene and taking us back to 1980’s America. A little girl wanders off from her family at a beach fairground, she ends up in a hall of mirrors and witnesses something utterly terrifying. We jump a few decades into present day where Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family are arriving at their family summer home in Santa Cruz.
After only a few minutes in, there is a notable strangeness to the family, Adelaide in particular. This is recognised through her eating habits, agitation and anxiety, especially with her son. On one quiet evening, what appears to be a family of four, stand poised in the shadows outside the Wilson’s driveway. After a threatening attempt the family eventually brawl their way into the house and hold the Wilson’s hostage. This is when we are introduced to the ‘tethered’ doubles and then the fun begins.
The climactic bone-chilling moment arrives when Red (Adelaide’s double) takes centre stage, and in a harrowing, croaky, painful voice begins to recite her ordeal and plans to the Wilson’s. This scene was particularly chilling for me, Lupita truly brings the character to life and as though she was talking to me alone, it quite frankly scared the wits out of me, I mean, what an actress!
After this less than pleasurable chit chat, each family member is hunted by their twin alters one by one. The film takes the audience down a destructive path of bloodshed and violence but it is not until the very last moment, the penny drops and we understand exactly why the tethered were created, hidden and then let loose on the “free” world. So as you have probably gathered there is more than enough drama in here to get your teeth stuck into.
Let’s break it down
There were a lot of questions that were left very much unanswered. I feel like there is a lot of open suggestions and speculation to take from this film. From what I have read, there is a huge amount of online debate surrounding; the tethered and their existence, Adelaide’s strange behaviour, the little boy, government control and the infamous red suits and gold scissors. Shout out to all of my Instagram friends for opening this up for conversation and agreeing that we can all be confused together, you know who you all are.
Anyway, you want my analogy? The moral of the story is to figure out who these ‘tethered’ people are and why they are attempting to destroy the humans above ground. We know that the doubles are living in the once derelict tunnels and were seen as a failed government experiment. The clones have the same visible traits as the humans above but when it comes to their behaviours and personalities they appear to act like a Mr Hyde or an evil twin. So, the experiment created a Dolly the Sheep-like clone of a human body but not the exact mind. Where they get their ideas to kill from on the other hand isn’t quite the mystery. I don’t want to totally spoil the movie for you so let’s just say that one tethered spoke to the rest and created an army of real-life-human-killers as retribution.
There is more, for instance if we were to examine the title, “Us”. Does this actually stand for something a bit more controversial other than the families? United States perhaps? Or, is it directly referring to the American people as a collective? I am still unsure about this one. And what about the use of the term, “We’re Americans”, does this imply that the tethered family are in fact a part of the same society as everyone else, or that they are in fact the only true Americans? Whatever the answer may be it has been exciting to be a part of these online discussions.
Another element one might add into this mix of mind-boggling deliberation is that Peele is in fact, creating his own cinematic universe starting with Get Out and Us. Perhaps this is just only a theory but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was to happen as there is definitely a market for it.
To sum up this review and short breakdown, I really enjoyed Us. It had me on the edge of my seat for the most part and eager to find out the truth – needless to say I am still searching for answers! Regardless of the outcome and open questions it is a film I would definitely watch again, for enjoyment purposes and of course, curiosity. There might be something I had missed and further clues that needed deciphering. So, if you’re into a bit of mystery as well as thriller/horror’s, relish in being challenged, and love a bit of uneasiness then give this one a watch, you will not be disappointed.
Thanks for reading,
Have you seen Us? Let me know your thoughts, questions and/or theories in the comments section below.
📸images: credit to the owners