Us has been in theaters for a couple of weeks now, and fans of the thriller have been asking plenty of questions. Some even returning to the theater to watch it multiple times, trying to make sense of that twist ending. So what is really going on in the movie? And what does it all mean? As Jordan Peele explained in a recent interview, the message under the surface is that the monster is us.
Director Jordan Peele has been deemed by many to be a modern day horror maestro. His first directorial effort Get Out won an Oscar for its screenplay, but many feared it was a fluke. Us arrived in March to prove the man’s Hitchcockian-like skills in manipulated and scaring audiences. Though, his Twilight Zone has tarnished that a bit with its truckload of awful reviews. Now, with some time and space between them, Peele is explaining some of the metaphors and ideas in Us.
Us has been obsessively dissected and discussed since its premiere. It’s the type of movie that requires you to continue thinking about it once you leave your seat. But it’s Joran Peele, as the writer and the director of the piece, that truly knows the intention behind the images and story playing out. If you haven’t seen the movie, obviously there will be spoilers coming your way here in a second.
The movie’s final reel reveals that Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family have escaped Santa Cruz. In flashbacks, we discover that Red kidnapped the real Adelaide in the house of mirrors all those years ago, at the exact moment Joel Schumacher was shooting the iconic carousel scene with The Lost Boys cast, and the two swapped places sometime in the 80s. The doppelgänger survives. And the real Adelaide has been murdered. What we’ve seen throughout the movie is really the Tethered’s story.
if you go back and watch the movie, you discover that Peele has laid out quite a few clues to this idea. And it’s actually quite obvious that Red has infiltrated the real world. But it still comes on as a shocking twist. Peele has this to say for his twisty ending.
“This movie’s about maybe the monster is you. It’s about us kind of looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in a movie is the surrogate for the audience. So it felt like, at the end of the day, I wasn’t doing my core theme any justice if I wasn’t revealing that we have been the bad guy in this movie. We’ve been following the villain.”
Peele wants to make it clear that the word ‘villain’ needs to be used lightly, as there are many interpretations in the movie as to what a real villain is. There is an open discussion in the running narrative about what true good and evil is. And the Tethered blur the lines between being monsters and being righteous. About the look Adelaide gives Jason at the end of the movie, Peele says this about that smile.
“I think the little smile she gives him is a lot of things. I think it’s a connection to the evil smile she once had as a little girl, but also a sort of understanding that her family unit was stronger from this experience.”
The AV Club shared this insightful take one the movie from director Jordan Peele, which was first revealed in the Empire podcast.