Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Us

Sometimes, you’re your own worst enemy.

Summary: In 1986 at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a young Adelade (Madison Curry) wanders into a funhouse and, amidst the mirrors and reflections, find a very real girl with her own face. Nowadays, although she’s grown up (Lupita Nyong’o), that night still haunts her. When she, her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), and two kids, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), take a trip to that fateful beach, Adelade starts having this sense of foreboding that the past could catch up with her. What she could have never expected is for her summer home to be invaded by four people who look exactly like them, Adelade’s double included. The family must now run from these twisted reflections of themselves as they find themselves in a nightmare scenario where the deadliest face is the one in the mirror.

Review: Us is bloody brilliant, sometimes quite literally. This is one of the most original horror movies I’ve seen in a long while and a great second outing for Jordan Peele. You may remember that his first movie, Get Out, ranked at number two for my best films of that year. I bring this up because, apart from the ethnicities of our leads, the two films have practically nothing in common. There are no repeated tricks, no staples, no feeling of “haven’t you done this before” and quite frankly, it’s astounding that a fledgling director has such a diverse range.

One of the most powerful  qualities of this movie is the sense of unease going throughout it. Even when nothing’s happening, things just feel off in a way that you can’t explain. Part of that might be due to the music, which is appropriately eerie and disturbing, and another part might be that you’re never quite sure what’s going on until the very end. Now I will admit that I called the twist at the beginning of the movie, but there was so much skillful misdirection that I actually doubted my own call in the end.

I just realized that I haven’t even talked about the acting, which is freaking amazing. Lupita Nyong’o pulls off a great range from terrified to terrifying and is slowly becoming one of the great actors of the era. In fact, everyone is fantastic in their double roles and it’s very unsettling. It’s also fascinating how the doubles, referred to in the movie as the Tethered, are like yin and yang to their originals — Gabe is chatty while his clone grunts and howls, Zora resents doing track and field and her doppelganger is a running machine, and Jason and his twin both have a fascination with masks, but for very different reasons. They’re warped reflections… just like a funhouse mirror.

This is the kind of movie that practically advertises that the maker went to film school. Apart from numerous homages to movies like The Shining, there’s foreshadowing and meaningful imagery to be found all over. There’s a recurring motif of rabbits throughout the film, which can serve multiple symbolic purposes when you think about it, and the number 11 can be found anywhere serving as, among other things, a visual representation of two duplicates. Not to mention the creative camerawork and aforementioned suspense. It’s the kind of movie that I’m jealous for not having made first, but also couldn’t see anyone else making it.

I can already tell that this is one of those movies that I’m going to be thinking about for a while, whether for its memorability or the ambiguous questions it poses. I’ve heard some people take issue with the explanation given for the Tethered, but I was personally okay with it. What I wouldn’t be okay with is if Peele makes a sequel because I feel that a lot of the unanswered questions should stay unanswered. With that, I leave a message for Jordan Peele: keep giving us new ideas. I can’t wait for the next one.

Fun Tidbit: Remember when I said you could find the number 11 all over? Well, that’s actually only half true as the real brain teaser comes from the recurrence of 11:11, examples including a clock, an ambulance, cleverly hidden in the logo for the band Black Flag, and most notably a sign held by a homeless person that reads “Jeremiah 11:11.” Said scripture reads, “Therefore thus says the Lord, ‘Behold I am bringing disaster and suffering on them which they will not be able to escape; though they cry to Me, I will not listen to them,'” which has some disturbing ties to the plot that are best unspoiled.

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