Jordan Peele Does it Again to ‘Us’

By: Kayla Robinson
OwlFeed Journalist


On March 22nd, Director Jordan Peele, known for his movie Get Out, released another terrifying thriller titled Us. The movie was a success with a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and after watching it, I can’t bring myself to disagree with that rating.

Photo credit: The Wrap

The story follows Adelaide Wilson, a wife and mother, that was haunted by a traumatic childhood experience at the beach in which she ran into a copy of herself. After returning to the beach with her family years later, she becomes increasingly paranoid, warning her husband of her copy’s return. Her suspicions turn out to be correct, as not only Adelaide’s copy, but a copy of her whole family appears in front of their house.

They manage to escape from the clones, but as they search a safe place to stay it’s revealed that everyone in the United States has a double. Everywhere people are being replaced by clones in red jumpsuits holding gold scissors. When the clones finish killing the originals, they gather together and form a chain in a twisted version of Hands Across America. In the end, the family kills their clones and the flees Mexico.

The entire movie is filled to the brim with of hints and nods to what’s really going on. The song Adelaide whistled at the beginning to calm herself, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, is about a spider that was forced down a water spout and returned when the sun came up. Later, a spider crawls in front of Adelaide while she’s laying on the couch.

In the car, Adelaide snaps offbeat to I Got Five On It, hinting at her abnormality, and in that same scene, Zora talks about government attempts to control the people. In fact, there are so many other innuendos in the background and in front of your face that you have to watch it multiple times just to catch them all.

In the end, it is revealed that Adelaide is actually a member of the tethered, and she had switched with the real Adelaide when they first met as children. The reveal is so much more than a surprising twist, however, as perspectives change. Suddenly Adelaide is the villain and Red is innocent. Because this reveal happens at the tail end, this twist creates the inner conflict that really makes this movie special.

When first introduced, Red tells Adelaide about her horrible times living with the tethered.

She continually accounts for how human the tethered are, how they’re Americans just like everyone else in the country, but it’s only when she is revealed to be the real Adelaide when she is revealed to be one of us, that she gains sympathy from the audience. Throughout the movie, Adelaide is shown as a caring mother and great wife, but in the end, she is easily dismissed as the villain because she isn’t an original.

In an interview with NPR, Peele sums this experience up perfectly, “The very nature of ‘us’ means there has to be a ‘them’, right? So that is what this movie is about to me, is that: Whatever your ‘us’ is, we turn ‘them’ into the enemy, and maybe ‘we’ are our own worst enemy.” Even as Adelaide runs away from her past, it’s the viewers that get to experience inner turmoil with morality.

So who is the real villain of the story? Well, clearly it’s the person who’s killing thousands of people, but it is interesting to see the strength of the ‘us vs them’ mentality that makes you question that.

The movie itself is more suspense than a thriller. The light humor that surrounds it makes it better for people that were more interested in the plot than the horror but isn’t as fulfilling for those who wanted to leave the theatre shaking. It leaves you up at night in thought rather than fear, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have its moments. The Wilson family’s confrontation with their doubles was terrifying and one of the most disturbing parts of the movie.

The attention to detail, the cinematography, the effect on the audience, and the curiosity it leaves you with ultimately makes this movie Oscar-worthy. Jordan Peele has made another masterpiece that leaves me excited for his next release.