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Film

We Review Us: And The Jordan Peele Brand Continues

Us Movie Poster Jordan Peele

In its first weekend, Jordan Peele’s Us ruled the box office earning 71 million dollars domestically. That’s impressive for a horror movie, an original concept, and a sophomoric effort from a young filmmaker. Cole and Alexa of InQua screened it early. In case you’re one of the few people staying home opening weekend, here are five big reasons to see Us in theaters now.

See It With An Audience

Cole: Horror normally goes one of two ways. Either it’s a cool atmospheric type that works best alone in the dark, or a fun slasher romp that you enjoy yelling at the screen with a group. Us manages to be both.

Alexa: I think a huge part of that vibe contributes to the audience. We weren’t in a packed theater when we saw Us, but everyone got so into it. The guys in front of me were trying to tell each character how to escape each situation. Honestly, they made it that much more entertaining.

Cole: It’s kinda the anti-Quiet Place because it also is going to depend on a great audience. This time you want people to make noise. Scream at the right places and laugh at the right places. And there is definitely plenty of room for both.

Alexa: Oh for sure. I was sitting at the edge of my seat the majority of the movie. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would this be another Get Out, or something completely different? I’m pleased with the fact that this was an entirely different movie – genre and all.

Cole: And I disagree a little, that to me this feels really similar to Get Out with the mix of horror, comedy, biting satire, easter eggs (except that’s a weak way to describe just a really thought out and directed script), etc. But let’s start with the fear.

Horror First

Alexa: Peele is fairly new to the genre of horror, this now being his 2nd thriller/horror film and now moving on to other projects, but he knows how to incite fear in unanticipated ways. For Peele, he’s explained that one of his biggest fears growing up has been of meeting his doppelganger. This comes from the idea of looking at our reflection and it coming to life – not matching our movements.

Cole: It’s cool that the next project he is working on is a new Twilight Zone. The visuals of creepy doppelgangers in Us look inspired by an old Twilight Zone episode called Mirror Image. He is doing his research.

Alexa: And I am PUMPED for it! I have such fond memories of watching The Twilight Zone when I was younger, with my dad. The rest of my family was kind of creeped out by the series, but I realized that’s where my affinity for horror, thriller, and anthology stemmed.

Jordan Peele director of Us; creative force behind The Twilight Zone

Cole: Yeah this movie is definitely scary, but I don’t think firmly in the horror genre just because it does so many more things. Like the Twilight Zone always did! Peele’s knack for social commentary mixed with thrills and sci-fi and off-kilter ideas is reminiscent of that old series.

Alexa: I agree, I didn’t leave the movie feeling like I couldn’t have a good night’s sleep. But, I do feel like there was a good balance of gore, suspense, and inquiry.

Nostalgia

Cole: We’re talking so much about how this movie is like a TV show from the 60’s, I feel like we have to address how so much of the feel of the movie comes from the 80’s.

Alexa: Absolutely! From the beginning, there are direct references to Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, with the main character, Adelaide, wearing a MJ Thriller t-shirt her dad won for her at a carnival at the beach boardwalk. But also, the doppelgängers wear red jumpsuits and one single glove – again, representative of MJ.

Cole: And then beyond the references in the movie, the music and especially opening credits are directly out of an 80’s horror. Again you can just tell that Peele did his homework.

Alexa: Since the trailer has come out, “I Got 5 On It” has been on repeat on my Spotify playlist. I love that the family even plays off the trope of “nerdy dad who isn’t up with current trends.” Gabe is remembering a great song from his time, but his young son doesn’t understand the nostalgic significance of the song.

Us poster with family Lupita Nyong'o Winston Duke

Stellar Acting

Cole: Winston Duke seems like such a weird choice for the awkward dad, but he plays it well and mild mannered. Then you meet his double and remember just how huge and imposing that man can be. There wasn’t a weak link in the entire cast, and they all had to play two, often opposite roles within the same movie. No matter what criticism this movie gets I don’t think we’ll see any saying the acting wasn’t amazing.

Alexa: And to think they had to play versions of their own characters, too just amazed me! Lupita Nyong’o especially knocked it out of the park. Red’s tone of voice really amps up how nightmarish this situation truly is for this family.

Cole: We need to quickly mention the other family in the movie as well; Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss playing the most unlikable rich drunk people you have ever met, and also play their dopples mirroring the self destruction in their lives.

Alexa: When Elisabeth Moss’s character said, “I think it’s vodka o’clock,” I knew I wouldn’t mind to see her go.

Cole: Haha and little things were cool about those characters, like her mentioning in the same scene about the plastic surgery she had done and then seeing her double with crude scars. Which is why…

You’ll Have To See It Twice

Cole: Go see it in the theaters now, because you’ll want to see it again to catch all the trademarked Jordan Peele clues throughout. If you are someone that believes everything in a movie happens for a reason, then Peele is your man, because there isn’t a wasted scene in the whole film.

Alexa: You might walk out of the movie saying to your friends, “I’m so confused” or “I don’t even know what to think,” just go ahead and look up the bible verse that’s shown throughout the movie to get a better idea. (Jeremiah 11:11).

Cole: The scripture makes sense and of course it’s also 11:11 representing the twin themes.

Alexa: oh SNAP! I didn’t even catch that. Man, this just proves your point to see it twice.

Cole: He reminds you of it again when the clock reads 11:11 right before the doubles show up. Lupita’s character is wigged out by all the coincidences happening, and the audience should be too. A savvy movie-goer will see the twist coming from a mile away, but this isn’t a movie that needs the twist to be interesting. It’s more a journey of how we’re going to get there.

Alexa: I will add, one cool symbol is the weapon that the tethered use. Their gold pairs of scissors. It’s a symbol in that both parts of the scissors are identical, work in unison, and connected at one point. This relates to the fact that the doppelgängers are connected with their human counterparts.

Cole: There are SO many little things that make the movie a complete picture. And you’re just going to have to see it (maybe a few times) and catch them for yourself.

Us is in theaters now and is Jordan Peele’s second cinematic piece after Academy Award winning Get Out.


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