Movie Review: Us (2019)

Film Title: Us

Summary: A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgangers appear and begin to terrorize them.
There will be spoilers at the very end of this review. The initial review is spoiler free. Also, I don’t like horror films and while this one will probably be classified as “horror”, I did not find it scary.
I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED THIS REVIEW!! I’ve been trying to finish this thing forever!
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We pretty much stick with the family in this one. As they play two characters I’m going to try not to go overboard with talking about each character.
  • Lupita Nyong’o as Adelaide Wilson/Red. So, Adelaide is a quiet woman, she says she has a hard time talking and that’s evident a little early in the film. She had a traumatic experience as a child and returning to her childhood home has her on edge as she sees coincidences that remind her of what happened before. When the day ends she tells her husband that she’s just worried that something will happen, and she finally tells him what happened when she was a little girl. Then of course, things happen. So, she goes on the journey in this movie trying to run from the horrors of her past while also trying to protect her family. She doesn’t particularly care about the world because it’s not her problem but she’s hellbent on protecting her family. Now, Red is Adelaide’s “shadow” and she has returned with her shadow family for her reasons I won’t spoil here. She’s terrifying in how she moves, her expressions, how she talks, and you can’t help but be transfixed by her. Lupita is amazing in this movie. Even if this movie wasn’t good in my eyes, I would still think Lupita is amazing in it. She’s so good. I think as Adelaide she plays the strength she needs, the fear, the anger, all of it so well. For Red, it’s such a different performance and it’s so haunting. It’s so good.
    • Madison Curry as Young Adelaide/Young Red. We see this young actress in the flashback portions of the movie and we spend enough time with her to see how she differentiates between the two characters as well. I thought she did very well, especially since most of her acting is physical and, in her face, as she doesn’t say much.
  • Winston Duke as Gabe Wilson/Abraham. It’s M’BAKU! lol But Gabe is that type to want to keep up with the Joneses because he does things in this movie, at the beginning to try and match up with their friends who seem to be rich. He buys a boat, he wants to go to the beach and talk about the things they have and are getting. He also doesn’t seem to take a lot of things as serious as he should. When Adelaide tells him of her fears, he’s joking about it and almost dismissive of her worry and fear. When the Shadow family first appears, he’s like “Um okay, y’all need to leave” but it doesn’t get serious for him in terms of the stakes until Abraham snatches his glasses from him lol. Even when they’re talking in the living room, he keeps talking and it’s like, bruh shut up lol. Now as Abraham, he’s big and imposing and he doesn’t talk so you’re not sure what he’s going to do at all. Winston Duke plays the two characters who are also so different and it’s like night and day. I thought he did a great job at being kind of goofy as Gabe and then imposing as Abraham.
  • Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora Wilson/Umbrae. Zora is their teenage daughter, she ran track prior to their summer and has decides she doesn’t want to run anymore. She’s always on her phone and she does get into it with Jason but it’s not like how they usually show brother/sister relationships where it’s antagonistic. Zora seems to think quickly on her toes as the film gets going, and she’s probably like 13 so she wants to drive but her parents are like “nah”. But she manages to handle the situation like a pro. Now Umbrae doesn’t talk either, but she just smirks and giggles the entire time. It’s great and I found her the most unsettling. Being that she’s Zora’s shadow, she’s a runner and she also seems to be the most brutal as well. Shahadi did such a great job as both characters. For her to just keep that smirk on her face and giggle and be so unsettling is a win.
  • Evan Alex as Jason Wilson/Pluto. He is the youngest child and he’s a little strange. He seems to keep to himself and loves magic tricks. Jason seems to know different hiding spots in the house and he utilizes them when he needs to. He’s very observant and a lot of times it’s worth watching his expression for clues and realizations because he’s clearly figured it out before you. He’s a sweet boy though and I like his and Zora’s relationship gets stronger as the movie goes on and that he’s also willing to do what he needs to. As Pluto, he’s little monster who wears a skin-tight mask over his face and who likes fire. He’s a scary little monster lol. Evan Alex does a good job as both characters. He of course cannot talk as Pluto, but he makes little grunting noise and sounds like an animal. I think that was in line with what he was in Red’s eyes lol.
The Story. The story is interesting and fully in spoiler territory, so I’ll be brief about this. So, basically Adelaide experienced something traumatic as a child and she has now returned to her childhood home where she begins to see all kinds of coincidences that make her think of what happened before. Just as she finally expresses what happened to her husband, a family shows up and begins to terrorize them. We learn this family is a shadow of our current family and the ride never stops from there. I think this story is a dig at a lot of things. What you take from it I think will be different from person to person. It’s a commentary on identity in ways but also on the government. Not to mention, on how people deal with their choices and the implications of that. That is all I will say here.
The Horror/Thriller Aspect. While I don’t think the movie is scary overall, it does have horror elements. Jordan Peele sets up scenes that are meant to leave you tense and trying to prepare for what’s about to happen. Not to mention, this movie doesn’t seem completely far-fetched. You can’t help but to wonder. Not to mention, what would you do in this situation? How would you react? It’s thoughts like that that linger that makes this scary. Also, the performances are unsettling and the whole idea of what the doppelgangers are trying to do… it’s a lot for the senses but it’s not scary! At least not in the traditional sense!
Musical Score. The music is beautiful in this movie. Particularly the scene during the opening credits with the rabbits. It was so haunting! The music really helps elevate parts of the film.
All the Signs. I watched this movie twice and on the second viewing, it really helped put things into perspective now that I knew what I could expect at the end. I really liked how they were used to foreshadow what was coming, what we were going to learn about the characters and the story. I thought it was clever. I think it’s easy to notice on the first go around, but there’s nothing like watching and experiencing it again once you’ve already seen it and now know the truth.
Cons:
Not Enough Answered Questions. I talked with my brother-in-law and older sister about this movie briefly and we had a nice discussion. However, I still think there were a lot of questions that were raised in the movie and not enough were answered. I know movies can be left up to interpretation but when the movie itself poses questions or poses situations and doesn’t answer them or give clarity to what it’s presenting us. For example, we get a ton of information when we first meet Red, which poses some questions and gives a bit of answers. Then later, we get more information that gives us even more questions, but nothing is truly answered. It’s just frustrating because when those questions arise, it’s hard to ignore them.
Weak Last Act. I think the story remains interesting but compared to the set up, I think the last act is weak in how it’s portrayed to the audience. So, we get a lot of information in the last act which raises a ton of questions, but it’s delivered to us in a “villain’s monologue” and the information is not only a lot to take in, but it leaves a bit of head scratching. Sure, sure, you can argue that it was meant to be taken how the audience takes it but you’re clearly setting up a narrative and while it’s crazy, like don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the reveal, it doesn’t hold a clear weight.
The Other Family. I know why they were there, I know why they were included in the movie, but I would have rather just spent the entire movie with the Wilsons without spending the 10 minutes we do with that other family. Other than to show us Gabe’s whole thing of “keeping up with the Joneses” they could have been left out. It wasn’t a necessity personally.
Overall, I really liked Us. I don’t think it’s as good or tight as Get Out is but Us manages to find its way through some of its weaker and confusing aspects and still provide a thrilling experience. The acting is good all around, the Wilson family are all interesting people and I would love to just spend a day with them that doesn’t revolve around their doppelgangers coming to visit. The story is interesting and provides a lot of metaphors and allegory that can be interpreted in different ways by different people. The music is fantastic and adds to the creep factor. The horror aspect, while it’s not a scary film, works as it provides tension. Plus, all the signs that foreshadow what’s to come are handled so well that on the second watch, you find yourself taking note of them all. Now, I did have a few minor problems. I think the film has a weak last act compared to the first two. It also raises too many questions and not answering enough of them. It doesn’t come off smart but confusing and irritating. I also think the other family could have been cut from the film or at least not given an entire sequence by themselves later, who really cared about them? ANYWAYS, great movie, I really liked it and I think it’s worth the watch, especially to see what Jordan Peele thought up.
Rating: 4.0 out 5 stars.
Spoilers Below This Warning.
So, I knew I wasn’t going to do a spoiler review for this film. I could but I don’t think I want too. So, at the end, we find out that Adelaide who we’ve been hanging out with the entire movie is actually one of the Tethered. At the end, once they “win”, she has a flashback where she remembers what happened the night she got lost. As a little girl, she went into the hall of mirrors and found her shadow. So, Adelaide choked the real Adelaide and switched places with her. So Red in the movie, is the REAL Adelaide.
 I hope that’s understandable lol. But I was like damn that’s a good twist because it was. I didn’t see it coming, at least not till the end when I wondered if they switched places as children after Adelaide killed Red. So, Adelaide went back to the beach after Red took Jason. She went into the hall of mirrors and went back to the place where she first saw her shadow as a child. She goes down into the tunnels (which I wondered just how she knew the door was there, she didn’t act to me like she was trying to see if there was a secret but like she knew it was there even if it was subconsciously), anyway, she goes down and again, I wonder just how she knew where to go. But she finds Red. They have a confrontation and a fight and Red slashes and stabs her a lot. Finally, they go into one of the bedrooms and Adelaide ends up stabbing Red with the poker. She was dying but then started to whistle “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and Adelaide uses the handcuff chains to break her neck.
During this entire sequence, Adelaide does a lot of screaming, frustrated noises, grunts etc. When she drops Adelaide down to the ground, she makes some other weird carnal/animal noises. My friend said, “Did they just fuse together or something?” and I was like “Nooooo” because then I started to think they must have switched places at some point because what she just did was very animal like and we never saw Red make any of those noises outside of telling her family how to go after Adelaide’s family. It was just so interesting to me so how that all worked out in the end.
She finds Jason and he looks at her all weird and she tells him “it’s her, he’ll be safe, and things will be like they were before” and he is just giving her this weird look. When they’re in the car driving away, Adelaide is remembering that she is not the real Adelaide and Jason gives her this look and then she smiles at him and he puts his mask on.
Theories 
So, with the ending, I know there are a lot of theories floating around about it and I wanted to add in my two cents. One is that Jason and Pluto got switched at some point. I don’t buy that because when would they have been able to switch him? It doesn’t seem like the visit their summer house all the time and how would they not notice that suddenly Jason is different? Was he different? I mean there’s too many holes with that. Young Adelaide couldn’t even speak when she first switched, her parents thought her trauma affected her speech. Plus, the tethered can’t speak, at least not human language, so why can Jason (who may still be odd) speak clearly but Pluto, cannot, plus he moves like an animal most times and his face is badly burned. So, I just wanted to put my two cents in that theory.
The other theory that Jason and Chris from Get Out, are the same people is also ridiculous. Just because Chris doesn’t like talking about his mom doesn’t mean he wouldn’t talk about his sister and dad? Plus, why would Jason change his name to Chris? AND even more so, why would he forget the trauma that he witnessed as a kid with the tethered and then go off to some backwoods house with his girlfriend? I would be so cautious if that happened to me, I would never go anywhere with anyone. NOT to mention, didn’t we learn that his mother died in a car accident or something? Something where he felt like he killed her? Idk.
 The other theory that Get Out and Us exist in the same universe. Meh, maybe but how far apart do they exist?
Questions
So, I have a few questions. These are some of the questions that were raised, that I can remember right now that I don’t think the movie did anything to answer, or at least do it well enough.
  •  Where did Red get all those red jumpsuits, gloves and scissors? Obviously, she was inspired by Michael Jackson, as his t-shirt was the last thing she wore before the switch.
  • It’s implied that her dancing is the reason why the tethered looked at her like she was different. I did seem like at the end with the confrontation with Red and Adelaide that Red had better control of her body, even though Adelaide was hurt… it got wilder whereas Red remained tight in her movements. Sooo, during that dance scene, who was really controlling who in that scene?
  • How did Red get all the tethered to meet and understand her plan? How far do those tunnels go? Was it just California or was its other places?
  • What was her plan after the tethered took over? Were they just going to stay with their hand in hand? She said to Jason and Pluto when she sent them to play “Don’t damage our house” so I would assume they were just going to live out their lives up top but how long was the holding hands last?
  • What about the tethered finding their husbands and wives like the ones up top? Because they were revealed to be clones of the surface people instead of actual “shadows”, how does that work?
These are just some things I thought of while writing this review and when watching the movie.
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