Review: ‘Us’

Jordan Peele’s new horror movie is a creepy masterpiece

I’m a huge fan of horror movies, especially when they involve some kind of inherent social commentary or any kind of deeper meaning, so I had high hopes for “Us.” Watching it felt almost like watching a long Twilight Zone episode, and I was definitely not disappointed.

Peele’s sophomore horror film, following his blockbuster predecessor, “Get Out,” is an deep dive into duality, social inequality and what it means to be human.

The film centers around the Wilson family as they endure what should have been a fun family trip to Santa Cruz, Ca. Adelaide, the mother, is traumatized from getting lost in a maze of mirrors on the boardwalk and coming face-to-face with her exact lookalike one summer there when she was a little girl. Understandably, she’s extremely on edge for the trip. Her husband, Gabe, plays the stereotypical dad-on-vacation role perfectly, embarrassing Adelaide and their children, Zora and Jason, through dad jokes and his impromptu purchase of a boat (Zora: “He’s kidding, right?” Adelaide: “He is so not kidding.”) When the family is attacked by their doppelgangers, who think and behave just like them, the real Wilsons have to outthink their own selves in order to survive.

In true Peele fashion, the giant twist at the end leaves moviegoers questioning everything they thought they knew and retracing their steps back through the film to understand what really happened and what comes after the credits roll.

All major spoilers aside, what really sold this movie for me was Peele’s use of metaphors and themes scattered throughout it. Rabbits play a major metaphorical role in the film, and Zora is seen wearing a shirt with a rabbit on it and later a sweatshirt with the Vietnamese word ‘tho’ on it, which translates to ‘rabbit.’ The Bible verse Jeremiah 11:11 recurs throughout the movie as well, and the number 11 takes on a deeper meaning (at least, according to internet theorists).

One aspect of this film that really makes “Us” stand out is Peele’s choice to have the Wilsons be portrayed as a middle-class black family. Their race doesn’t really tie into the overall plot; unlike “Get Out,” the plot of “Us” doesn’t necessarily revolve around making a racial statement—Peele just wants to normalize the depiction of black families in media. When Adelaide asks her double who she and the other red-jumpsuited figures are after her family is attacked, the double replies in a gravelly voice, “We’re Americans.” Peele does comment on social inequality through the idea of the Tethered, which you’ll only really understand if you go see the movie for yourself (and probably watch dozens of theory videos on YouTube later like I did to help piece things together).

“Us” doesn’t rely on lots of cheap jumpscares to sell its scare factor. While there are a few, Peele instead opts for a ton of creepy undertones, especially through the use of rhythmic, cult-like drums and shrieking violins in most of the score and soundtrack, and also by making “I Got 5 on It” the creepiest song ever. 

“Us” is definitely a horror movie, but one that subtly creeps under your skin and stays there long after the movie’s over, especially any time when you find yourself in front of a mirror alone.

~Anna Dorl, Lifestyle Editor~

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