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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Jordan Peele’s latest horror flick uses creative allusions to spellbind viewers

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Jordan Peele, director of acclaimed horror films “Us” and “Get Out”

Director Jordan Peele’s new horror movie “Us” has proved that he is always one step ahead of the audience with its obscure references, creepy soundtrack, stunning visuals and a chilling plot twist that grossed a whopping $70 million its first weekend.

The audacious thriller follows the Wilson family as they are stalked by murderous doppelgängers while on a California beach vacation. These doubles look similar to the Wilson’s, but have unsettling differences. The Tethered family, which is what these demonic doubles are called, each wear a red jumpsuit and possess large gold scissors. They also have creepy movements and lack normal voices, usually communicating in grunts or in a spasmodic manner.

“Us” in many ways mirrors Peele’s Oscar-winning debut thriller, “Get Out” that was released as a surprise hit in 2017. They both play on suspense and include social metaphors, but whereas “Get Out” leads with social commentary about black and white relations in the United States and ends with a solid conclusion, “Us” has a greater horror factor, but leaves the audience with more questions.

The film features a dynamic cast who also play their counterparts. Lupita Nyong’o gives an outstanding Oscar-worthy performance in the role of Adelaide Wilson and her double Red that makes it seem like both characters were played by different actresses. Winston Duke adds a comedic effect as the protective dad and Elisabeth Moss is stellar as a housewife and Wilson family friend Kitty Tyler.

Peele has become known for his references and great attention to details that always seem unrelated to the story at first. Most notably, “Us” has a scene early on with a 1986 commercial for Hands Across America, a real event that was created to raise awareness about homelessness by creating a human chain coast-to-coast.

This commercial doesn’t begin to make sense until the horror unravels and the audience begins to see the striking resemblance between the Tethered’s and the mass hand-holding human chain.

The audience also learns that everyone, not only the Wilson family, has these villainous doubles with a closing scene that shows these alter egos holding hands across a mountain range mirroring Hands Across America.

“Us” may not be as big on social commentary as “Get Out” was, but this does not mean that “Us” lacked it. The movie starts with text that describes the existence of many abandoned tunnels, mines and subway systems in the United States. The connection doesn’t appear until towards the end of the film, but it can be used as a metaphor to describe what lies beneath divided America and its dichotomous identity.

Additionally, Peele also includes many references to classic horror films such as “Jaws” as one of the characters wears a “Jaws” T-shirt and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” that the audience sees a VHS tape for.

“The Shining,” a horror movie that also follows a family, seems to play a star influence in “Us.” As the Wilson family drives to their vacation home, there is an aerial shot of their car winding through the forest which evokes the opening scene from “The Shining.” In another scene, Kitty’s twin girls are introduced in a way that is an obvious nod to the haunted twins in this classic horror film.

Peele has quickly become Hollywood’s biggest name in horror and is defining the future of these films. He is a mastermind and has already secured that his filmmaking style will forever remain indistinguishable as he voices his concerns of social issues through a channel of horror movies. Fans of Peele and horror will be yearning to see what he comes up with next.

Jordan Peele’s “Us” is playing in theaters now.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Lukowski, Arts & Culture Editor | she/her
Sarah Lukowski is a senior journalism and public relations major from Middlebury, Connecticut. Sarah joined The Suffolk Journal in fall 2018 as a Staff Writer and is now the Arts & Culture Editor. When she's not typing away at her computer, you can find her proclaiming her love for Taylor Swift, reading the latest young adult novel, or watching classic horror movies. Follow Sarah on Twitter @thesarahdipity Email her at [email protected]

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Jordan Peele’s latest horror flick uses creative allusions to spellbind viewers