I’m a sucker for a psychological thriller, which is why I always end up spoiling the end for myself instead of waiting through the whole thing. But if Jordan Peele’s Get Out was anything to go by, I didn’t want to ruin his next film without trying to spot all the Easter eggs myself. And I suggest you do the same — because it was well worth the wait.
The premise of the film is pretty straightforward (at first glance). A classic home invasion movie complete with a happy family moving to their summer home for the holidays, a protagonist with a traumatic past, and shadowy figures standing in the driveway. Yet, 2019 demands something more than recycled storylines and cheap thrills, so there’s something to (not) expect from a movie that’s thrown the internet into a frenzy of buzz and fan theories.
Do you ever feel like the people in horror movies lack some sort of common sense? We’ve had our fair share of fist-shaking, frustrating moments, where the lead follows the creepy child down an alley or trips over thin air one too many times. Well, there aren’t many opportunities to put the blame on lazy writing here, because the Thomas family does everything they can to keep themselves from harm’s way when five crazed doppelgangers, self-dubbed Tethered, arrive at their doorstep. Yes, that includes calling the police immediately, but you’ll find out why that didn’t work.
The truly unsettling grovel of protagonist Adelaide’s double, Red, sets the scene for a horror flick which avoids slasher-film clichés and jumpscares; instead, it lets the discomfort creep up on you slow and steady, as we follow the family of five through a terrifying sequence of events that leave no one unscarred, until realization dawns on you just minutes before the credits start rolling. No wonder the pundit predictions of a possible Academy Award nomination for actress Lupita Nyong’o.
The childhood trauma Adelaide faces resurfaces itself into a real-life nightmare as the Tethered harbour unexplained hatred and murderous inclinations, going to great lengths to hunt down each “normal” version of themselves.
In true Peele fashion, the critically-acclaimed follow-up to his breakout success is riddled with foreshadowing, symbolism and a surreptitious political commentary that doubles its rewatch value. Right from the start, we catch on to little hints of something not adding up, but it isn’t until much later in the show that things start to fall in place.
Fast-paced with plenty of scene changes between acts, the movie doesn’t confine the story within the limits of the house, although the trailers may mislead one into assuming that it’s just another trapped-in-my-own-home storyline. So it’s safe to say that, even if you’re actively thinking of ways that the story can be twisted, you probably won’t see the end coming at all.
Us is running in theatres now.