Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Anna Diop, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Madison Curry, Cali Sheldon, Noelle Sheldon
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Horror written and directed by Jordan Peele. Us (2019) follows a mother and father, Adelaide and Gabe Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke), who take their children to their beach house expecting to unplug and unwind with friends, the Tylers (Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker). But as night descends, their serenity turns to tension and chaos when some shocking visitors arrive uninvited.
Jason Wilson: [referring to “I Got 5 On It” on the radio]] What dies I Got 5 On It mean?
Zora Wilson: It’s about drugs?
Gabe Wilson: It’s not about drugs. It’s a dope song. Don’t do drugs.
Adelaide Wilson: Jason, come on. Get in rhythm.
Kitty Tyler: I think it’s vodka o’clock.
Josh Tyler: Oh, yeah. Definitely.
Kitty Tyler: Yeah. Yeah.
Josh Tyler: Okay, good. Let’s pack up.
Kitty Tyler: Okay.
Adelaide Wilson: Where’s Jason?
Kitty Tyler: Hm?
Adelaide Wilson: Jason. Where’s Jason? Gabe. Where’s Jason? Jason?
Adelaide Wilson: Jason! Where were you?
Jason Wilson: I was in the bathro…
Adelaide Wilson: No! You don’t do that. You don’t run off without telling me!
Jason Wilson: [as Adelaide holds his arms tightly] Ow.
Adelaide Wilson: I’m sorry.
Gabe Wilson: Okay, okay, okay, okay, we’re good. We’re good. Alright.
Adelaide Wilson: [hugs Jason tightly] You don’t do that to me. Understand?
Jason Wilson: Sorry.
Jason Wilson: You thought I was dead.
Adelaide Wilson: No. I just, I just didn’t know if you were lost, or taken, or…
Jason Wilson: By terrorists and perverts?
Adelaide Wilson: Stick with me, and I’ll keep you safe, okay?
Adelaide Wilson: Gabe, I want to go.
Gabe Wilson: Where you trying to go?
Adelaide Wilson: I can’t be here. I, it’s too much.
Gabe Wilson: You serious?
Adelaide Wilson: Being here, it feels like there’s this black cloud just hanging over me, and I don’t feel like myself.
Gabe Wilson: I think you look like yourself.
Adelaide Wilson: When I was a kid, I went to that boardwalk with my parents. I wandered off. I don’t know why. I just did. I ended up in that hall of mirrors. There was another girl in there. She looked like me. Exactly like me.
Gabe Wilson: But you were in the hall of mirrors…
Adelaide Wilson: She wasn’t a reflection. She was real. She was real. She… I ran as fast as I could. My whole life, I’ve felt like she’s still coming for me.
Gabe Wilson: Okay, well, whatever happened, happened a long time ago, right?
Adelaide Wilson: You know how sometimes things line up?
Gabe Wilson: Yeah.
Adelaide Wilson: You know, like coincidences. Since we’ve been here, they’ve been happening more and more. I think I feel like it means like she’s getting closer.
Gabe Wilson: Who? The mirror girl?
Adelaide Wilson: You don’t believe me.
Gabe Wilson: I do. I do. I’m processing. Okay? I just can’t believe you kept all this inside for so long.
Jason Wilson: There’s a family in our driveway.
Gabe Wilson: There is not a family in our driveway.
Gabe Wilson: [as they look out the window] Huh. Who is that?
Adelaide Wilson: Uh-uh.
Gabe Wilson: Oh, it is a family. What, you all scared of a family?
Jason Wilson: A bogeyman’s family.
Gabe Wilson: Okay, alright. Enough, enough of that.
Gabe Wilson: [to the family in their driveway] Hi. Can I help you? Okay. If y’all are out here trying to scare people, I think you picked the wrong house for that.
Adelaide Wilson: [back in the house] Zora, put your shoes on.
Gabe Wilson: [to the family] I asked you nice. Now I need y’all to get off my property.
[the family doesn’t respond or move]
Gabe Wilson: Okay, let’s call the cops.
Gabe Wilson: [takes a baseball bat] I got this. I got this.
Gabe Wilson: [to the family in their driveway] Now, I thought I already done told you all to get off my property. Okay? So if you all want to get crazy, we can get crazy.
Zora Wilson: [after the Tethered have broken into their home] What?
Jason Wilson: It’s us.
Red: [explaining to the Wislons about the Tethered] Once upon a time there was a girl, and the girl had a shadow. The two were connected, tethered together. When the girl ate, her food was given to her warm and tasty. But when the shadow was hungry, she had to eat rabbit, raw and bloody. On Christmas, the girl received wonderful toys, soft and cushy. But the shadow’s toys were so sharp and cold, they’d slice through her fingers when she tried to play with them. The girl met a handsome prince and fell in love, but the shadow, at that same time, met Abraham. It didn’t matter if she loved him or not. He was tethered to the girl’s prince after all. Then the girl had her first child, a beautiful baby girl. But the shadow, she gave birth to a little monster. Umbrae was born laughing. The girl had a second child, a boy this time. They had to cut her open and take him from her belly. The shadow had to do it all herself. She named him Pluto. He was born to love fire. So, you see, the shadow hated the girl so much for so long, until one day the shadow realized she was being tested by God.
Gabe Wilson: What are you people?
Red: We’re Americans.
Adelaide Double: [chuckles creepily] Be careful.
Kitty Tyler: [being killed by their Tethered] Ophelia, call the police.
Ophelia: Sure. Playing “F*** tha Police” by NWA.
Adelaide Wilson: We need to move and keep moving. We take the coast. We go to Mexico.
Gabe Wilson: Mexico? Okay. Woh. Woh. Woh! We got everything we need here. Food, water, backup generator. We’re as safe here as we’re going to be anywhere.
Adelaide Wilson: Tell that to Josh and Kitty. They’re right here.
Gabe Wilson: You’re scaring the kids.
Zora, Jason: Too late.
Adelaide Wilson: They think like us. They know where we are. They won’t stop until they kill us, or we kill them.
Gabe Wilson: Then let’s make some traps or something, like some Home Alone type stuff. That way, if she comes…
Adelaide Wilson: Tell me you did not just reference Home Alone.
Gabe Wilson: You know what I’m talking about.
Adelaide Wilson: Gabe, they’ve been planning this. They have the upper hand. This is the time to run, not to be sprinkling Micro Machines on the floor.
Jason Wilson: What are Micro Machines?
Zora Wilson: What’s Home Alone?
Gabe Wilson: We’re not going anywhere, and that’s final.
Adelaide Wilson: You don’t get to make the decisions anymore!
Zora Wilson: I’m driving.
Adelaide Wilson: No way.
Gabe Wilson: I told her no.
Zora Wilson: Dad’s leg is messed up. You’re handcuffed. It’s not safe. I’m driving.
Adelaide Wilson: Zora, no!
Zora Wilson: I have the highest kill count in the family.
Adelaide Wilson: You don’t have the highest kill count.
Zora Wilson: I killed both twins.
Adelaide Wilson: Wrong. I just killed the second one.
Jason Wilson: I killed Kitty.
Gabe Wilson: So that’s one, one, one, and two. I killed two. I killed myself and Josh, so.
Adelaide Wilson: It doesn’t matter. Zora, get in the back!
Zora Wilson: [referring to Tethered] Look. It’s the line.
Gabe Wilson: Looks like some kind of fucked-up performance art.
Red: [to Adelaide] How it must have been to grow up with the sky. To feel the sun, the wind, the trees. But your people took it for granted. We’re human too, you know. Eyes, teeth, hands, blood. Exactly like you. And yet, it was humans that built this place. I believe they figured out how to make a copy of the body, but not the soul. The soul remains one, shared by two. They created the Tethered so they could use them to control the ones above. Like puppets. But they failed, and they abandoned the Tethered. For generations, the Tethered continued without direction. They all went mad down here. And then, there was us. You remember? We were born special.
Red: [to Adelaide] I never stop thinking about you. How things could have been. How you could have taken me with you. Years after we met. The miracle happened. That’s when I saw God, and he showed me my path. You felt it too.
Red: [to Adelaide] The end of our dance, the Tethered saw that I was different. That I would deliver them from this misery. I found my faith, and I began to prepare. It took years to plan. Everything had to be perfect. I didn’t just need to kill you. I needed to make a statement that the whole world would see.
Red: [to Adelaide] It’s our time now. Our time up there. And to think, if it weren’t for you, I never would have danced at all.
Cody Hendley (Middlefield, CT, USA) says
Marketed as an intimate horror about a family being haunted by something all too real, akin to The Purge or The Shining, Us scares in a way much different than what was expected. As you get past the confusion of “how could this last for an hour and a half, they’re already in the house” and realize that Us brings you a story of much larger scale, the real threat of the film begins to unravel in a way that seemingly only Jordan Peele could allow it to. So artfully told and eerily driven, Us brings a story that fits into the suspenseful thriller-verse of movies such as Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead and Zombieland. That being said, this movie is not about Zombies, it just so happens that primal versions of ourselves act a lot like a hoard of zombies. As with Get Out, Us’s social commentary helps level the film’s antagonists to an area that makes it that much more frightening. Us fits itself beautifully into the new sub-genre of auteur horror amongst Hereditary, Get Out, It Follows, The Witch, even the new Halloween in some aspects. This sub-genre has provided viewers with a new taste of what horror is becoming and Us opens up an even larger playing field for this fruitful theme. Although misleading, Us fits as a horrifying entry in Jordan Peele’s growing filmography that doesn’t only scare on a supernatural level, but a social one as well.