So has anyone else seen the latest Jordan Peele film Us? [spoiler thread]

#1

I have and I thought it was pretty damn good. I don’t think it’s as tightly made as his previous work Get Out but I do think that it that it does manage to be thoroughly unique (despite drawing inspiration from numerous sources), and contains one of the horror genre’s best protagonist and antagonist played wonderfully by the same actress. Not to mention the film itself is also just incredibly well shot and beautiful looking, like its clear that Director Jordan Peele and cinematographer Mike Gioulakis (who also worked on It Follows) are a match made in heaven in terms of visual presentation.

Final let me just say the final shot/sequence is absolutely perfect in how it summarizes the film’s main theme in a succinct manner.

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#2

I saw it yesterday and thought it was great! it went in a direction that was so unique, I really was not expecting any of it.

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#3

I haven’t seen it and do not intend to see it due to my inability to handle horror films (especially with slasher elements), but I have read the synopsis of the film because I respect the hell out of it and wanted to know what messages the film had.

End result? The final twist has me shook as a sucker for a good twist ending, but the general themes and messages of the film present it as a distinctly American film about a very American brand of ugliness that makes the movie very much not “for me”.

And why should it be? I’m not American and I couldn’t even stomach to see the film. Hell, I didn’t even know what Hands Across America was until last night.

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#4

British person here. I saw Us at the weekend. Thought it was brilliant.

I also rewatched Get Out for the first time since seeing it at the cinema yesterday. Where the films are similar is the juxtaposition of horror and comedy, the way it proudly wears it’s horror influences, the way both are immaculately made that makes them great for repeat viewings. I think the big difference, is in scope - Up definitely has a bigger budget and a bigger production, this can have a detrimental effect on horror but I think it is used well to give the film this more abstract nature. The opening scene on the broadwalk is just full of threat and menace that just exudes confidence.

From the trailers, I guess I really thought I had the film sussed. Thought the doppelganger family was allegory for this darker conception of blackness made real. With the quintessential all American family literally battling with this darker version of themselves. In some respects Us is definitely this, but it goes way beyond that and to my delight, I had no idea where the film was going following it’s first act.

Don’t let the film get spoiled for you.

It proves Jordan Peele is no one trick pony, can’t wait to see what he does next - can’t wait to watch his version of The Twilight Zone.

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#5

I left the theater pretty disappointed, because I had a lot of issues with the way the twist was handled and the things it seemed to be implying based on my initial read of the film. Also, the analysis I found immediately afterward seemed to assume an entirely different experience with the twist than I had, which kind of left me feeling like I had gotten the whole picture of the film and just didn’t like what was there.

But before writing out my thoughts on Us in this post I decided to do some more digging and found this piece in Vulture that recontextualized the themes and got me thinking about the whole movie in a different way.

Overall I’d have to say I feel like Peele did a masterful job of directing the movie, from the cinematography, the little details in the settings and the implementation of musical cues and comedy.

I’m also not really a traditional horror fan at all so without the assumed subtext I kind of had a hard time buying into the whole slasher film element that was at play including the just general amount of violence and the way the characters handled it.

Ultimately I would have enjoyed a film that spent a little more time exploring who the main character is and her motivations at the forefront in parts where it instead spends time on surrounding family characters who kind of fade into the background by the end. But that’s just very much my taste so I can’t really knock the film for being what it is.

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#6

Saw it this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d be willing to bet the doppelganger thing isn’t new, but overall I thought the movie felt refreshingly original. The music, comedic elements, and actor/actress performances all landed for me, but the movie wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

Oh and that twist, very good, but I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I’m glad I absolutely didn’t see it coming. But I also don’t feel like it was as effective as it could have been, and didn’t leave me shook like I wanted. I feel like we knew so little about Adelaide as a child (pre Santa Cruz beach incident) that her being replaced by Red didn’t bother me too much? Like Red grew up to live a pretty successful life, seems like a good and caring mother, loving and loved wife, liked by her friend(s), etc.

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#7

This was basically the issue I had, although I also spotted the twist pretty early and felt like it was telegraphed, so the kind of fake out toward the end also didn’t play for me.

I was also very confused by the subplot where the son is aware that she’s actually from the underground when the film seems to make pretty clear that she is at her core literally indistinguishable from someone who lived in the surface world their whole life (aside from the trauma).

That whole thing also felt like it betrayed the whole concept that the underground people were essentially bodies without souls, because Red was clearly able to adapt herself to the ways of the surface people over time.

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#8

So both my wife and I leaned over to each other in the therapist scene in the beginning and she said “That’s the doppelganger isn’t it?” and I said “Yup”. So the twist was in our heads the entire time. That said I still loved it, a twist doesn’t work unless there are clues laid throughout the film and since the presence of a twist was spoiled before I saw it I was looking for it and that’s why it was easy to spot.

Theory time: The thing I have questions about are the “Tethered” aspect and how the kids maternal line affects who they are. If Red (original who Adelaide replaced) is really a “normal” person, are the kids in red normal but just extremely crazy from living underground? and if that’s the case then Adelaide’s (the actual copy) kids with Gabe are copies too. That means who controls who gets weird because Red believes she’s being controlled by Adelaide’s actions up top but if she forgot she wasn’t a copy then Adelaide up top was controlling her and THAT means if Jason is a copy who a few times shows he senses a tether to Pluto and eventually marionettes him into the fire. It only makes sense that Zora and Jason are Tethered because Red is being controlled by a confirmed Tethered above ground and we see Jason controlling Pluto. That explains why Jason looks like he knows his mom is a Tethered but he also probably knows he is too at that point.

Another reason I think Tetherds do actually control people because as it’s revealed when Adelaide and Red find their way to each other the Tetherds movements underground to the Hall of Mirrors were specific while the real girls were meandering (away from the attractions to a dark beach when we know from her mothers comment about the Thriller shirt that Thriller scared her, looking up at a storm while the copy looks up an escalator), the abduction way doesn’t make sense if copies are acting out their Tethereds actions underground.

I think the movie is about identity and how much environment and circumstance plays into who we are.

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#9

I see that theory and raise you the theory that Adelaide, as one of two characters that lived as both a Tethered and whatever you want to call the other person in the equation, was aware of the notion of one person controlling the other and used (*edit: by “used” here I mean manipulated the idea in Jason’s head, not actually used some supernatural connection) that as part of an elaborate trap to not only capture Jason, but also sacrifice Pluto so there would only be one family remaining, the family that she feels she deserves as the person who originated on the surface, which she sought to reclaim by killing Red.

There’s evidence to this in how she refers to Abraham as a brute and her children as monsters and essentially sends them off in pairs to kill each other off probably knowing they would be bested by their surface counter parts, while she has Red in handcuffs, like she was when she was taken underground.

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#10

I think this was my main issue with the twist. It doesn’t actually change anything about the character. Sure, her background is different, but everything we learn about her through the course of the movie is still true. It seemed like the movie wanted me to find her monstrous or feel betrayed by her, and I didn’t. I was another one who spotted the twist early, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I also had issues with how much detail it went into in explaining its own mythology (I think less would have been more effective) but I was really positive on it as a whole. It’s refreshing to see good horror do well with mainstream audiences.

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#11

Damn, all of y’all picked up on the twist early? :joy:

I feel ya on the mythology, I wasn’t expecting the lore explainer at the end, and would’ve preferred to keep some of that mystery. It was a little difficult for me to understand Red’s way of speaking, so I (thought I) missed a line or two of dialogue during the explainer and was confused about the origin of the Tethered. Then I read a plot summary afterward, and nope, what I thought I heard is apparently exactly what she said lol.

#12

I definitely saw the twist coming but it didn’t stop my enjoyment of the overall movie. You don’t have your character suddenly meet their doppelganger and then just escape instantly. There had to be a switch.

I think the reason why the film is so successful is that it can be read in so many different ways. Whether it’s the idea of coming to terms with a troubled past or even just the nature of society, where for some to prosper, others have to be suffer.

I think at the core of the movie, there is this big central question of nature versus nurture, which frequently comes up in discussing whether people are inherently good or evil. Because it is a horror movie, initially the split between evil and good is fairly obvious, but it becomes more complicated. Us expresses the concept of nature vs nurture on the individual level, especially focused within Red and Adelaide, how it extends to her family and finally all of society in genral - with Red/Adelaide being the lynchpin that turns everything upside down.

The tethered live underground and are initially depicted as evil and not possessing a soul but, I don’t think that’s the case, because really they are denied all the liberties the above ground dwellers enjoy and take for granted. Their life is lived underground, on one side of the corridor they sleep in bunks, on the other they eat live rabbits and inbetween are vaguely steered by their doppelgangers above.

Adelaide pretty much learned to fit into the world above after the switch. She maybe wasn’t as good a dancer ever again but for the most part she’s a normal human being, she wants to protect her kids and even if she has been aware of the awful truth lurking underground she does feel remorse for her other half. I think the really nice touch was the way she comforted her dying doppleganger daughter. A version of her daughter she effectively abandoned. On the flipside, Red was driven by vengeance, her voice turned hoarse as she was literally starved in a mental capacity for all those years.[/spoiler]

I think the end twist comes off as a littly flippant. The implication that Adelaide is perhaps not as virtuous as the strong female horror protagonist would imply. There is hope for us all, so long as we’re aware of those who do suffer when others prosper. I guess that’s the sugarcoated message I got from the film but it’s so rich in meaning.

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#13

i disagree that the film wanted you to do this - i think quite the opposite? the point (to me, at least) was that circumstance is all that separates us from the tethereds, its not that anyone is inherently monstrous. adelaide (as in, the protagonist of the film who we found out at the end replaced her ‘above ground’ double, it can be difficult to do names when talking about this film!) is shown to genuinely love her family and fear harm coming to them throughout the film, i think the reveal at the end (which i sensed around the time she killed the twin before they leave the white family’s house) is meant to be a moment for the audience to reflect on the assumptions made during the film about us/them, but not to assume that adelaide must therefore be evil, but more that the tethereds might not have been if it weren’t for their circumstances, their position as forgotten about, marginalised, etc.

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#14

In terms of uniqueness I say the two main ways Us differs from other doppleganer stories is scale and theme, since most others doppleganger stories usually focus on one v one conflicts between a person and their double and their own personal issues. Us on the other hand shows this conflict from an entire family’s perspective (not to mention the entire United States is also taking part in this conflict offscreen), I also think that themes the movie contains of how people and society may present itself vs how it actually is are also unique from a good amount of the other doupleganger stories. Not to mention the Tethered also benefit from having a unique visually interesting design in terms of wearing bright red and using gold scissors.

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#15

Saw the movie today…

I have family and other semi-reasons to occasionally go to Santa Cruz.

I’m never going to Santa Cruz again.

I don’t know why the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk agreed to be in this film. They and their drug needle laden beach are not cast in a good light.

Also I think the companion piece for this movie is weird indie romance/horror/sci-fi The One I Love. They’re wildly different but both have Elizabeth Moss dealing with her doppleganger.

Possibly might add to this post to go further into thoughts on Santa Cruz and horror. Santa Cruz has a creepy vibe and I can understand why it would compel Jordan Peele to set a film there but I think he only exploits that vibe very slightly and perhaps only to a level someone who knows the city would catch onto.

#16

I came here to say what Velocirapture and Chainsaw said about nature vs nurture. The twist (like others, I guessed it right off the bat and spent the movie waiting for confirmation) exists to say “There, but for the grace of god, go I”. We’re told the Tethered have no soul but Adelaide is proof that this is incorrect. The twist isn’t meant to make the viewer see Adelaide as a monster, but to help you see the Tethered as real people whose uprising is totally justified.

I read Justin’s glare at the end of the film not as “My mom is one of the Tethered. That makes her a monster” but “My mom is one of the Tethered and she did nothing to help them. That makes her a monster.” I think Jason was the one character who displayed real sympathy for the Tethered throughout the film, marionette fire scene not withstanding.

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#17

I loved Get Out but Us really suffered from the ammount of explanation it gave. Either don’t explain the tethered at all or give a much more logical explanation. The in between just makes it so hard to overlook all the “well what about X?” questions.

I also saw the final twist coming but it, like the explanation of the Tethered, raises a lot of logistical questions.

I find the critical reaction to Us to be really fascinating. I’ve read some people trying really really hard to claim some metaphorical meanings for the film that I just don’t really buy. I think it was slashfilm that tried to argue that the Tethered were Trump supporters and the underground was the internet. I’ve taught film classes and seen undergrad papers that didn’t try to hard to make a metaphor exist without any solid evidence.

#18

I dunno I just really wasn’t feeling it. It was overly long and fell deep into the horror movie mistake of explaining what’s going on. Cut the whole friend’s house sequence for time, as well as both scenes of Red explaining the plot and I think it’s a way better movie. Also, I think the twist could have been handled better. Even though it’s obviously not, it feels tacked on at the end.

#19

I think what I came away liking most was how much wiggle room the film allows me to kind of let the mechanics of the plot and vague mix of ideas fit together one way or the other to contribute to a larger theme. I’m also someone who will always prioritize emotional or thematic importance over an airtight plot in general. Most of the time I’ve spent thinking about the movie has been me getting very sad thinking about Red and the Tethereds w/r/t the difference in growing up underground versus knowing what it was like above and having that taken away.

One of my friends was talking about the implications of Adelaide being “actually the evil one” and it made me think about how “evil” is very relative as an attribute even if the Tethered commit “evil,” deeds. (Extra emphasis on the scare quotes around “evil” lol).

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