The Extremely Eerie Psychological Horror Review For “Us” …
As experienced through the famous film directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out (2017), his newest film Us, released in 2019 brings unnerving, stressful, and bloody scenes to the audience, as a critique on broad universal social issues and problems. Us is specifically critiquing social class and economic status within the United States.
The filmmakers emphasize these socio-economic concerns through the trope of the doppelganger, that can also be seen slightly in other horror films such as Dark Water (2002).However, in Us, it is used to an extreme, frightening extent, leaving the characters, and the audience by extension overwhelmed and on the edge of their seats. The film is scary as hell, with the title itself being an allusion to the problem of economic struggle in the United States, and we, as the audience, being included in that problem.
Apart from all sorts of cinematography and story-lines to result in the ultimate scare, Us includes themes of doppelgangers, or physical doubles, that is also eerily unsettling to the audience, and the characters within the film. These doubles may have multiple meanings, but the main one is the idea of invisible others suffering to make middle class life easy.
Us starts off strong, with the audience being introduced to young Adelaide, who is visiting the Santa Cruz boardwalk with her parents at night. Soon after arriving, Adelaide wanders off to the beach, where she discovers an abandoned fun-house that has a creepy, dark hall of mirrors. While trying to find her way out of this hall of mirrors, Adelaide runs into another young girl, her double; a girl who looks exactly like her. After this strange encounter, the film shifts to the present day, with Adelaide and her family jamming out to classic R&B songs. We soon find out that Abraham, Adelaide’s husband, played by actor Winston Duke, has suggested taking the family to a vacation beach house in Santa Cruz for some much needed relaxation. However, for Adelaide, played by actress Lupite Nyong’o, this trip immediately sparks anxiety and fear in her, making her reluctant to go, despite being talked into it by her husband and warily agreeing to the trip.
After the family arrives, Jason, Adelaide’s son, wanders off on the beach for a short time, sending Adelaide into a frenzy of fear and worry. Luckily all is well, and the family is able to find Jason unharmed, and return to the vacation home for a nice night’s rest. However, what kind of horror movie would let a happy family sleep in peace? Definitely not Us.
Once the family settles down for the night, the power goes out during an intimate talk of Adelaide’s past with Abraham that leaves the situation overwhelmingly stressful, as we soon discover there is a strange family standing in their driveway. Abraham goes out to ask them what they want, as they stand, wearing red jumpsuits linked hand in hand, saying nothing. The silence coupled with the backlit silhouettes of the strange family is easily the most terrifying scene in the film. Abraham realizes these people are a bit off and decides to threaten them off his property with a baseball bat, when they immediately begin dispersing around the house to enter it.
The young children seem to spider crawl in the trees surrounding the house, which is the first real sign these characters are not good. One of the family members enters Adelaide and Abraham’s vacation home, and they realize these are not just unwelcomed weird strangers, but individuals who look exactly like them. Adelaide’s worst nightmare has come true. Unfortunately for Adelaide’s family, these doppelgangers are out for torture, torment, and most of all, blood.
The film Us beautifully mixes different horror genre tropes from the terrifyingly real home invasion scenario, as well as bringing in monster tropes with a dystopian and psychological horror feel to it. This makes it hard to not positively impact a large range of horror fans and film enthusiasts of all genres. The surprisingly real themes of economic struggles within the United States also had another dimension to the film that keeps viewers thinking about it long after they actually watched it. The film progressively convinces us, the audience, that the biggest enemies are our shadow selves, the bad qualities everyone possesses. This can also been seen in various horror genre works, such as the main concept of the novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
The performances by the actors in Us are outstanding, adding extra depth to the film and playing their demented doubles to a perfect tee. The anxiety and fear that Adelaide and her family experience through the course of the film can be felt in the viewers, just one aspect that makes this film absolutely amazing. While everyone in the film did an amazing job, Nyong’o’s performance stood out far from her peers, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats in terror and hoping for her survival. The ability of the actors to play their doubles so perfectly is also important in this film, as the director intended for each scene to be analyzed, including the meaning behind this duality in the actors. This idea contributes to the established idea that we, the audience and people in society, have two sides to our personalities, just as the actors do with their double characters.
Even the ending of the film Us shook the psyches of everyone who watched it, with a twist ending that was hinted at but not explicitly stated ever throughout the film. It was refreshing; leaving the end finished yet the audience yearning for more. This film is highly suggested for individuals who enjoy psychological horror, as well as social issues. However, Us does have a bit of everything for anyone who enjoys a good scare.
Check out the official trailer for “Us!”