I really need to stop mentioning which film I’ll be tackling next week after my reviews. If you read my review for Dragged Across Concrete, you might be wondering why I’m not reviewing The Highwaymen like I said I would.
Well, as I did enjoy the film, I did find it a bit slow, hindering on boring. I wasn’t sure I’d have much to say about it that could fill 5 pages or more, the self-imposed rules I set for myself.
But after site members 3waystopsign and Reals both mentioned to me how much they disliked Us, the new Jordan Peele horror film, I felt I should go out and see this thing myself, find out if they haven’t come down with a case of the crazy brains.
Of course I already know the answer to that question since they both disliked Mandy, the best film of 2018 and beyond!
Their complaints about Us were the twist at the end was too obvious and the explanation as to what exactly the doppelgangers were didn’t make a lick of sense.
After seeing the film I can back up both claims, as the twist is completely obvious from the start, even if you hadn’t seen the trailer which shows you the twist, it was still pretty clear where it was leading us.
On the second complaint, double yes on the fact the ending explaining what their doubles are made absolutely zero goddamn sense. And the more you think about it, the more it makes less and less sense.
Having said all that however, I still found this movie to be pretty fantastic.
Us if anything is tense as hell, even before the doppelgangers show up there’s this unease surrounding everything. Setting up atmosphere in a horror movie is the hardest thing to get right, and this film does it with ease.
Hold on now, go back a second. Why am I being so positive about a film with such a shitty ending, you might be asking? Didn’t you chastise Escape Room for suffering from the exact same thing?
Yes, you would be right.
And this is a big butt
, the writing in Us is far superior than what we got in Escape Room, so is the acting and the directing. Even though Us does have a shitty explanation for what is going on, it still manages to rise above the nonsensical, making the film in my opinion a must see.
So obviously this goes without saying, but spoilers are inbound. If you haven’t seen the film yet or plan on seeing it, maybe come back to this review later.
I don’t know if I should just jump right into the two issues with the film now, or wait to talk about it once I get to them. I feel you might need some context first, so let me walk you through the basic plot of Us first.
I was never a fan of Key & Peele when it was on Comedy Central. I might have watched a few of their skits but I can’t tell you what they were. I bring it up because Peele’s films, the two that he’s made so far, have the same feel as those skits. They feel like the setup for a skit where the funny punchline never happens.
Us starts out in 1986 where we follow young Adelaide as she traverses a crowded carnival with her bickering parents. It’s her birthday and she’s just won a free shirt.
While her dad plays a game of Whac-A-Mole, Adelaide slips off to find a hall of mirrors by the beach. When she enters however, she runs into a little girl that looks just like her.
We then jump cut to the present where Adelaide is all grown up and now has a family all of her own. With her husband Gabe and their two kids, Zora and Jason, the family makes way to their nice vacation home by the lake.
Gabe surprises the family with the purchase of a new boat. Seems he is competing a bit with his neighbor played by Tim Heidecker. Adelaide is friends with his wife Kitty played by Elisabeth Moss. At least I assume they are friends, Adelaide isn’t feeling very sociable at the moment.
Right away you can see how uncomfortable Adelaide is with this place, especially when she learns of Gabe’s plan to take the family to the beach.
That’s when we see it’s the same beach with the mirror funhouse she went to as a kid. The same place she ran into her double.
While everyone is off enjoying themselves at the beach, Jason finds himself wandering around outside the mirror funhouse, where he runs into a homeless man standing around like a scarecrow with a bloody hand.
Upset from his quick disappearance, Adelaide rushes him and the rest of the family back to their vacationing home.
Later that night, the power to the house goes out and a strange family is seen in their driveway.
Gabe goes out to confront them with a baseball bat, only to escalate things, making the strange family scatter and the hulking man marches his way towards Gabe.
After very quickly taking down Gabe with his own bat and forcing his way in, the strange family corrals the Wilson family into the living room where they get a better look at the home invaders.
They’re their doppelgangers, identical in every way but with unkempt hair, wearing red jumpers and wielding a pair of scissors. The only form of communication they share are through grunts and groans.
Adelaide’s doppelganger however has the ability to communicate. She tells the family that they are shadows. Whatever you get, they get the worst of. You fall in love, she is forced to do the same with Gabe’s double, if she loved him or not.
While Adelaide gave birth to a nice baby girl, Red, as her double is called, gives birth to a psychopath. While Adelaide had a nice baby boy, Red had a child obsessed with fire, who scarred his own face so badly he needs to wear a mask to hide it.
They’re sick of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. This is a revolt. Where Get Out was a commentary on race in America, Us is a commentary on class in America.
Zora, their daughter manages to run away, but her doppelganger named Umbrae quickly chases after her, catching up to her inhumanly fast.
Gabe is dragged out of the house and forced onto his new boat where his double Abraham plans on throwing him overboard. Gabe gets the better of him by knocking him off the board and killing him.
Jason manages to connect a bit more with his double Pluto, who acts more like a wild animal than a human. He leads him to play in a closet that locks on the outside.
Adelaide is chained to the coffee table and forced to listen to her doppelganger try to speak human words.
Jason shows Pluto a magic trick he’s been trying to get to work since they arrived at their vacation home. It lets out a spark, startling Pluto, giving Jason enough time to slip out of the closet, shutting Pluto in.
Hearing Pluto’s cries for help, Red goes to see that the matter is.
Adelaide breaks free and runs off with Jason, escaping on Gabe’s boat.
We learn that this isn’t just an isolated incident, as doubles show up at Tim Heidecker’s house, quickly killing off his family.
Gabe drives the boat to Tim’s house where they run into the doubles, and once again the family separates to deal with the issue. Gabe is tasked with taking out Tim, while the kids are paired with taking out the doubles of the creepy twin girls Tim Heidecker has.
Adelaide is forced to watch as Kitty’s double Dahlia tries on makeup, I’m assuming for the first time, but is bludgeoned to death by Jason.
The Wilson family plans on getting away in Tim’s car but first they need the keys. Adelaide gets jumped as she goes back in to look for them, killing one of the evil twins still left alive. Jason walks in on her brutally killing the girl, another giant give away for the twist about to happen. I mean, at this point you should know what the twist is, right?
Reals asked me if I could guess the twist before seeing the movie, I didn’t answer him because I didn’t want to be right. It was the same thing that happened with me when I went to go see The Village. You already know there’s going to be a twist, so the whole time leading up to it, you’re trying to guess what it is. And the dumbest conclusion I could come up with at the time was, maybe this was actually all set in present day. And what do you know!
Now, I won’t say what the twist is for Us just yet. But you should honestly know what it is.
The Wilson family takes off, trying to find a safe place. But this thing is nationwide, people in red jumpers are killing at random then stopping to hold hands. All of them are just standing there, holding hands for miles.
The Wilson family ends up having to kill Zora’s double, bucking her off the car. Now all that is left is Red and Pluto, her fire obsessed child.
The Wilson family finds themselves at the same beach with the mirror funhouse, the road blocked by people holding hands and cars on fire.
Under their car out crawls Pluto, setting a match to blow up the car. But since Jason and Pluto have this strange connection where Pluto emulates every movement Jason makes, he steps backwards into the fire, burning to death.
While everyone is focused on the small child burning, they fail to see Red show up and kidnap Jason, taking him to the mirror funhouse.
Adelaide chases after them where we finally get to see where these doppelgangers are coming from. Under the mirror funhouse is an underground facility, which I’m guessing must stretch all throughout the US since we then learn that these people are clones. Hence why there are all these rabbits everywhere, maybe?
Even though the first cloned animal was a sheep, so… maybe there’s some symbolism there that I’m missing. When the film starts, we get a view of all the white rabbits in their cages, with one brown bunny in the middle.
Anyway, so these clones apparently were made by the US government to… do what exactly? They show us the events that happened that night in 1986, the underground clones are mimicking everything the topside people are doing.
Are they connected by some psychic link? They hint that might be the case.
But I still fail to see the purpose of all this. Why clone millions of people and shove them in underground tunnels? Why under a hall of mirrors funhouse?
It would have slightly made more sense if they were cloning everyone who visits the beach, or just scrap the stupid idea of cloning all together. Cloning brings up too many questions, like who is cloning them and for what purpose? When you have a plot like this, the less you know the better it will be.
They gave us way too much information and it left us with way more questions than answers. Like how did they get their matching synchronized red jumpers? Or their gold painted scissors they all carry, how’d they get those? How’d they know where their doubles lived?
How did all 300+ million clones get together to go over this plan when the only one that can verbally communicate is Red, Adelaide’s double?
Are they actually evil or just insane? Because it argues for both being true. Especially if you listen to Red’s description of the life she lived down there.
Were these people supervised? Were they being told that this is your husband now because your double is married to him? Are they making the kid clones or are they born all natural? And why are they born psychotic? Especially if, now, I think I have to get into the other twist. Why would Red’s kids be born evil, if as it turns out, Adelaide is actually the evil clone. She knocked the real Adelaide out and handcuffed her to a bed, where I guess she was trapped for all these years.
That brings up another question, is this place secure at all? Is no one looking after this place? How did the Adelaide clone sneak into the funhouse? Why couldn’t the real Adelaide just leave once she got free from her cuffs?
How did she get free from her cuffs? It seemed like all the clones were in this trance, so how’d she get the cuffs off and why didn’t she just bolt out of there once she was free?
Instead she just stayed down there while they worshipped her t-shirt promoting Hands Across America. The clones want to make a lasting statement that they are here, they exist and to do that they plan on killing their others and hold hands across the US.
I guess that plan kind of makes sense if you look at it like this is the idea from a little girl who has been trapped with crazy folks most of her life.
So of course this is what an uneducated… actually, wait… we see classrooms. So did they have school down there? I mean, we’re getting this whole revelation while standing in what looks to be a classroom.
Peele left it open to too many questions that don’t add up or make sense.
I could be here all day wondering about this or asking about that, hey this doesn’t make sense, but if that happened then why did this happen… it’s an endless loop of nonsense.
It would have been better to not explain anything. Because it does ruin the film for a lot of people. 3waystopsign and Reals are right to hate this movie because of how they explained things. It makes no sense and gets dumber the more you try to question it.
So Adelaide manages to kill Red and find Jason, but by this time Jason already knows the truth. His mom is the evil one. I assume, again, I don’t know if they are evil or not just most likely crazy.
And that’s how the film ends, with this big reveal that Adelaide was the doppelganger this whole time, like we were shocked to learn this or something and not have figured it out 2 hours ago.
One thing I enjoyed about the film was that it did a great job of setting things up that eventually paid off later. Like how Zora wanted to drive, then finally getting the chance to as they are fleeing their doubles, even running over and killing her double.
Or how Tim Heidecker’s character was chastising Gabe about all the equipment he needs for his boat and not having a flair gun, only to try and shoot evil Tim Heidecker with his flair gun on his boat.
Or how Jason kept a toy ambulance to hold the closet door open and by the end they get away in a real life ambulance…
It was little things like that I enjoyed coming back to pay off one way or the other.
The music I also find was excellently used, from the creepy score of chanting to the use of inappropriate rap songs queuing up, instead of calling the police like Kitty wanted their version of Alexa to do, she instead plays Fuck Tha Police as her family is getting brutally murdered.
I could have used a bit more gore as most of the kills were either off camera or shot far away.
I did like the fact this wasn’t just some home invasion film. For a bit it was reminding me a lot of The Strangers: Prey at Night. But I like that it escalated and this wasn’t just some isolated incident.
There’s something charming to the fact the evil bad guys of the movie just want to hold hands to get their message across. Maybe this time they’ll manage to pull it off.
I give Us and SEE IT rating. Even with a shit twist and a stupid explanation of what the doppelgangers are, I still say everything else is worth it. And if you know these things going in, maybe you won’t be as pissed off.
Next week I’ll be reviewing Shazam! I swear on it. Pinky promise.
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