features

I Saw Us Two Weeks Ago and I’m Still Scared

Maggie Flaherty ‘20

Chief Features Editor

Watching horror movies is just not for me. I learned this the hard way after too many Black Mirror viewing parties freshman year (Yeah, I know Black Mirror isn’t horror, I am just weak).  But I am intrigued by them, so I read the wikipedia plot summary of every popular scary movie that I have ever heard of.  Have you seen “The Exorcist”? I haven’t — but I could definitely analyze its narrative structure from the plot synopsis I found online, or at least have a brief conversation about it with someone who has seen it. That’s all I need. This usually spares me from nightmares or fear of the creepily unlit rooms in Alumni.

Yet the anticipation for Jordan Peele’s second feature film, “Us,” was too much for me to wait for twitter spoilers or a leak on some movie review.  

So I went. At 10 in the morning on a Saturday. My sister and I were one of two groups there.

“Us” depicts a family vacation gone awry. The family encounters their doubles, dressed in red jumpsuits and carrying gold scissors. There’s not much else I can say without giving away the most frightening twists. Although there were jump scares and spooky moments, I have to say that there was something calming about knowing I was walking out of the theater to broad daylight and no villains chasing me, and so I thought I conquered my fear. I left with my head held high, the only thing on my mind questions about the broader social commentary of the film.

“Us” has superb acting, especially the impressive performance by Lupita N’yongo in her first leading role. However, my sister was disappointed by the film’s execution because she enjoyed “Get Out” so much. Peele definitely tries to say something equally powerful with his second film, but this time I think he tries to say too much, or does not quite know what he wants to say. While fan theories are abundant online, some plot points are still left frustratingly ambiguous (you’ll know what I am talking about if you see it).  I think “Us” would be considered a great film if audiences did not have the expectations of “Get Out,” and it’s still a good film, just not as good. I appreciate an original screenplay regardless.

Much to my chagrin, Peele’s movie is so laden with metaphors and easter eggs that it demands a second viewing. I could not pin down what Peele was trying to say with the film, and thus my curiosity got the best of me. I was feeling fearless — and so a group of friends and I went the following day at 8 p.m.  Not a good idea. I’m still scared.

Please no one follow me around this week in red. Please don’t play “I Got 5 On It (Tethered Remix)”. I will do my part and avoid all mirrors so I don’t accidentally catch my double staring back at me.  

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