photo or infographic by courtesy of Universal Pictures
“They look exactly like us. They think like us. They know where we are.”
Like “The Shining”, there are a number of ways to interpret Jordan Peele’s horror movie, “Us”. Every scene is a hint of what is fixing to come later in the movie. Peele’s film will reward audiences on multiple viewings, each movie revealing a new secret, showing you something that was missed before in a new setting.
“Us” begins back in 1986 with a young girl and her parents walking along the Santa Cruz boardwalk at night. The girl separates from her parents to walk out on an empty beach and ends up finding an attraction branching off of the main pier, and she walks into what appears to be an abandoned hall of mirrors. She ends up finding something deeply terrifying: her doppelganger. The movie shifts to the present day with Janelle Monae on the radio as the family is headed towards their vacation home. The little girl is now a woman, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), nervous about returning to that attraction on the beach. Her husband, Gabe (Winston Duke), thinks that she is overreacting, but tries to calm her down so they can take their kids to the beach and reunite with old friends, the Tylers (Elizabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker), and their twin daughters. After a small scare, the crew returns home for a quiet night in, only to have their mental security broken by a set of trespassers along the driveway: doppelgangers of their family.
Peele pays significant tribute to the films that influenced him in “Us”. “The Shining” looked to have quite a bit of influence on “Us”, with an overhead shot of the family driving through the hilly forests to their vacation home, like the Torrance family did on the way to the Overlook Hotel. There is also a reference to “The Shining” twins. “Us” is not only a letter to another horror movie. Peele also pays tribute to Brian De Palma with a split shot of both Adelaide and her doppelganger in focus in the first part of the movie.