“Us” films explores dark, unknown realm of doppelgängers


Photo used from IMDb, fair use.

Alli Heckert, Reporter

 Jordan Peele’s sophomore film, Us,  made history on its opening weekend March 22, 2019, grossing $71,117,625, according to Box Office Mojo, becoming the most talked about film in America.

  Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a score of ninety-four percent, making the movie one of the highest rated movies recently released.  

   Us takes place in present day Santa Cruz, and follows a vacationing family staying in a summer home. Enjoying a relaxing day on the Santa Cruz beach, Adelaide Wilson notices her son Jason wandered off. His temporary disappearance triggers a violent flashback of Adelaide having a similar encounter at the beach.

  Peele’s cinematic style of incorporating the past and present brings the audience allows to watch the movie as if it were through the eyes of Adelaide.

  Adelaide complains to her family about a mysterious omen hanging over her head, a dark and evil presence. Soon after her chilling confession, Adelaide, played by Lupita Nyong’o, is alerted to a possible home intrusion.  Thereafter a group of doppelgangers prey on the family, attempting to cut ties with their real world counterparts.

  Peele’s movie delves into the reality of what is unknown and lurking in the shadows. The doppelgangers in Us live underground, spread vastly throughout the United States, one doppelganger for each above ground.

 Cinematic shots containing scenes only comprised of each actors characters, much like the climatic sequence near the end of both of Lupita Nyong’o’s characters Red and Adelaide, show the true dimension and dedication each actor had for their two, very distinct roles.

  Not only was the acting unfathomably controlled and talented, but the incorporation of sound and music added a hidden element of fear as well as submersion. The scene where the family is shown in the car, listening to Luniz song from 1995 “I Got 5 On It”. A seemingly innocent time as a family showcases Winston Duke’s character Gabe singing along. Adelaide turns to her confused, young son Jason and tells him to “get in rhythm” with an almost sinister grin on her face. This later reflects how she must “get in rhythm” with her doppelganger in order to save her and her family. Peele also incorporates artists such as Janelle Monáe, Beach Boys, Childish Gambino, and N.W.A. alongside haunting instrumentals to craft sound and influence the mood of the scene.

  Sound was a crucial element to this movie, and Nyong’o uses her voice to further the discomfort of the audience. Her character, Red, talks unlike the rest of the doppelgangers.  Nyong’o showcases a deep vocal fry, based off a condition called spasmodic dysphonia, that is usually an effect of trauma, which is later alluded to into the movie.

  A series of deep plot twists and reveals show the complexity of Peele’s movie, and also explains the deeper meaning of his film. Much like his first film Get Out, this movie makes a critical commentary on American society.

  This movie has been one of the best “horror” films I have seen in theaters since his previous film Get Out. The audience’s reactions and atmosphere of the theater alone was worth watching. Jumps and squeals that came from the people watching emphasized how the film forced submersion. Out of five stars, I would give Us four and a half stars. The only thing that left me wanting more was a few plots left open, such as Jason and his mysterious behavior and what happens to America after the invasion of the doppelgangers.