I know I’m late to the party but I’ve just finished watching Jordan Peele’s ‘US’ and I just have to discuss it. The whole film was like one of those dreams where you feel your body is awake, but your mind can’t get out of the dream and you are replaying nightmarish events over and over in a vicious cycle.
With vibes from movies in the past such as ‘The Purge’ and ‘The Strangers’ this film provides more intense feelings of weirdness rather than horror, but key elements still play a part in picking apart your discomfort and making your skin crawl.
The film plays on old wives tales and makes digs at our issues with our own identities to create a solemn and uncomfortable plot. I’m sure you’ve all heard that when you break a mirror, it’s seven years bad luck because our reflection is a mirror image of our soul, and when you mess with that you split it into fragments. So what happens when your mirror image is a real person that can’t talk, can only hunt after you and owns half of your soul? You get ‘Us’.
The film shows us that all across America, there are copies of each person called ‘The Tethered’ they can copy the actions of the original but share half the soul, almost like a twin. They live underground in shelters and old train stations, and whatever happens above, they copy underneath regardless of the situation. If the original has children, so will the ‘tethered’ and so on and so forth. This is discovered by Adelaide, who when she was just a young girl, she feels a premonition that she must visit a hall of mirrors while at a fun fair. She finds her copy, and it follows her for the rest of her life.
She tries to bury it, ignore it, but it still haunts her. When her husband, Gabe wants to visit the same beach as she visited when she met her copy, she is anxious and distressed. She knows that another version of herself exists out there and she wants to avoid it- she wants to pretend it’s not reality.
And isn’t everyone guilty of doing that? Hiding and burying their past or moments that are a little uncomfortable to try and move on with their life? Well ‘Us’ shows us that alternate versions of ourselves exist, no matter how much we change or evolve. There are always other versions of us that existed at some point, and we don’t get to decide when they appear to others who may have been affected by them. And are always challenging new versions of ourselves with the old, comparing and contrasting to better ourselves.
This is certainly the case with the Wilson family’s alternate versions. The daughter wants to give up track but her alternate version is passionate and relentless, and won’t give up the chase. Their son is constantly playing tricks on people to fool them, but the alternate version has a burnt off face because he played too much with fire. Gabe’s alternate version is angry and impatient, whereas the current Gabe is calm and logical. Suggesting that Gabe is the only person in the Wilson family who has truly made improvements on himself.
The film is brilliant, refreshing and undeniably creepy, but it’s definitely something you will be thinking about days after. You can buy ‘Us’ on DVD and Blu-ray now.