Us – WARNING! SPOILERS AND SPECULATION! Jordan Peele’s second film didn’t seem quite as original as Get Out, or as much about race, although it still has shallow, annoying white people. The social commentary is still front and center, but rather more fantastic. There were some good jokes, too, especially the one involving the Alexa-like device and NWA. After a flashback to 1986, we’re introduced to the central characters, a married couple with a daughter and son. They’re staying at their beach house, only to find a family that looks almost identical to them standing in their driveway. Soon, these doubles break into the house and it plays out as a home invasion film for a while, as they torment the family. They eventually manage to escape and it’s more of a survival horror thing, with doppelgangers of everyone around slowly killing their counterparts. The wife, Adelaide, then returns to where the trouble started in the flashback, a fun house on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk where she wandered off from her parents and encountered her double in the hall of mirrors. That then brings in a science fiction explanation for the doppelgangers, that they were the result of secret experiments that created human doubles with their own bodies and minds, but who were still connected to the originals and forced to copy their movements. There’s a twist ending on top of this that helps to explain how the doubles managed to overcome their limitations and how Adelaide fits into it.
There’s still quite a bit that isn’t explained, though. Are there doubles for every person, or just the ones in that area? Based on comments earlier in the movie, the doppelgangers presumably have to reproduce when the people they’re copying do, but how far back do the generations of doubles go? I suppose it’s not really important, but where did all those people in the line live before? Yeah, underground, I know; but would there have been enough room for all of them? And why was there that one scene where the son’s double had to walk backwards just because the kid was doing that, even though it led to his death? None of the other doppelgangers seem to have to imitate movements once they’ve come to the surface, even though they did underground. I did notice that one of the videos you can see beside the television at the beginning of the film is C.H.U.D., which also involves people living in tunnels and ungodly scientific experimentation. There’s a clear element of Frankenstein as well, with the creators abandoning their creations. I’m not sure we even find out what happened to the scientists behind the duplication project. The focus is more on how one particular person is aware of their plight and does nothing. There’s also a lot of repeated imagery, like the references to Hands Across America, the rabbits, and the number 11:11. A sign in the flashback refers to Jeremiah 11:11, which reads, “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.” Thematically appropriate, certainly, but I was hoping it would be a little more directly relevant. I’m also trying to see if there’s any pattern to the doppelgangers’ names. Some are clearly related to darkness, but others don’t appear to fit that theme.