WARNING: SPOILER ALERT
Soul-gripping. Edgy. Jordan Peele deserves another standing ovation for his latest thriller, Us.
Was it the eerie “I Got 5 on it” score or the thought of fighting to survive against your evil doppelgänger that got your attention on the initial trailer of Us? If you were astonished with Get Out, then you know that Jordan Peele definitely raises the bar on what a psychological thriller is supposed to be. Peele wasn’t always on a directorial path but has expressed himself throughout the television world since the age of 15.
He got his first taste onscreen with being a part of a short news segment called President Clinton Answering Children Questions where he asked the president a very direct and mature question, showing his brave character from a young age. Later down his journey with a more comedic approach, Peele and his friend Keegan-Michael Key got the opportunity to work with Fox on the hit show MADtv where they have done many impersonations of celebrities such as President Obama, 50 cent, and many more. No one back then would have expected this comedian to take a complete 180 and take on the horror genre (the genre that rarely gets any recognition and accommodations for its work over the many years of film). Peele is letting it be known that there is still untapped potential in our horror genre.
Us is a great follow up to his last masterpiece and has once again produced an amazing thriller for his fans to take in. The movie begins with a mother and father, Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, (Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke) who take their kids (Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex) on a summer trip to their Santa Cruz vacation home. This trip is less of a vacation for Adelaide due to a traumatic event from her childhood there. Upon arrival, Adelaide begins to have this uneasy feeling lingering over her as many strange coincidences begin to occur around the family. Adelaide feels strongly that they are all in grave danger. After a stressful event on the beach with their longtime friends, the Tyler’s (Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon), Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. The family becomes in absolute shock as these intruders invade their home and line up in front of the family unveiling to be their doppelgängers. “They’re us”. Us quickly transitions into an all-out survival horror of family against family.
When you have a writer and director such as Peele that takes his time to work out every kink within a movie, there will be many pivotal moments in the film that many viewers can easily miss the first time watching. In the scene where it was revealed that the original Adelaide had been swapped with her tethered self (Red) during her frightening encounter in the mirror house as a child, it explained why Red was not able to speak after the incident and had changed her behavior. Like Adelaide, the son also experienced a similar incident in the mirror house when the family came to Santa Cruz in a previous year. I know for me watching the movie for the first time it was not evident that the son was switched only the mother.
After seeing both of Peele’s recent films I noticed many similar components and clues in between the two that you’d might even say they are both connected. Some believe that the connection lies in the US Government’s experiments as the cause of the events that unfold in both films. In Get Out, the experiments involved a white American family kidnapping young men of African descent in order to transfer people’s souls into their bodies to gain their attributes. In Us, the experiment was also conducted by the United State’s Government in to order to practice cloning humans. This theory indicates that Peele might be creating a connected world for his current films or even for the ones to come. It wouldn’t be the first time a film maker made the effort to expand their films’ universe. M. Night Shyamalan and Stan lee are famous for these connections.
It is easy to say that Peele’s ideas help set his movies aside from many other thrillers. It is his vision of what a thriller should be like that makes his movies so original and successful. Us has already broken many box office records and has a $70M gross from its debut weekend alone. Hopefully we will see more of his team at Monkeypaw Productions as well as his amazing cast to take on Peele’s astounding plots.
What do you think of Us? Do you think Jordan Peele is capable of releasing more great films? Leave comments below.