“Us” is director Jordan Peele’s second unique and riveting horror-comedy. He is single-handedly reshaping the horror genre by creating films that simultaneously scare you and make you laugh to convey a powerful, deeper message.

In Peele’s film “Get Out” and now in “Us,” he applies real ongoing issues in our nation to shocking narratives, forcing the audience to see the horror some people face in their everyday lives. In “Get Out,” Peele portrays the racism that still plagues America today. “Us” focuses on issues like the failure to live up to the American dream and the dark secrets our government could be hiding from us. The film leaves mysteries unsolved and is full of symbols and hidden themes that can be interpreted by the viewer. There are endless theories to consider and keep you thinking about the movie long after you’ve left the theater.

Trailers for “Us” revealed little about the film except that it would be another unique and twisted story. The plot of the movie is so original, it would be hard to correctly predict it.

Aside from Jordan Peele’s fantastic job directing, writing, and producing, the acting in the film deserves just as much recognition. The star of the film Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Adelaide, is a very talented actress. She is best known for playing Nakia in “Black Panther” and Patsey in “12 Years a Slave,” which won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The other leads include Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex. These actors also play döppleganger versions of each of their characters. The actors’ “tethered” characters are darker versions and personas that display the diverse skills of these actors.

The film begins with Adelaide as a child. She is on the Santa Cruz pier when she wanders away from her family, makes her way into a mirror maze, and sees a young girl who looks identical to her. This interaction terrifies Adelaide and leaves her permanently traumatized. As an adult, Adelaide, her husband, and two kids go back to Santa Cruz for vacation and she feels uneasy throughout their stay. Her worst fears come true when one night their vacation house is invaded by intruders who look exactly like them. These intruders are each of their “tethered” versions.

These mysterious “tethered” people only become more inexplicable when they are asked, “Who are you?” To which they reply “We’re Americans.” The tethered communicate with grunts and groans—except for Red, Adelaide’s tethered twin, who can speak broken English in a haunting and struggling voice. The tethered versions of these characters try to kill their doppelgangers in a night of horror.

In between fight scenes, there are comical moments that return a light- hearted feeling to the viewer before they are once again confronted with gore and heart-pounding suspense. The film is much more than a traditional horror film. It uses the horror genre to make its themes more digestible and impactful for the viewers.

“Us” is perfect for any type of audience member. On the surface, ivt is enjoyable as a horror movie with an interesting, unpredictable plot and the perfect amount of gore to excite but not sicken the viewers. It is also enjoyable for the upper echelon film watchers who require their metaphors, symbols, and hidden meanings. With a deeper look into some of the symbols in the film, many hidden themes can be revealed. The themes force the viewer to take a second look at the American culture that we have all become accustomed to, as well as, into themselves.

Jordan Peele truly changes the process of film production and “Us” is just one example of his methods. “Us” haunts the viewer and leaves them thinking about the film long after it’s over.

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