By Matt Pascarella
The movie begins with a foreword. "There are thousands of miles of tunnels beneath the United States. Abandoned subway systems, unused service routes, and deserted mine shafts. Many have no known purpose at all."
“Us” centers around Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o), who, as a child, wanders away from her parents during a carnival. She enters a hall of mirrors where she sees a girl that looks exactly like her. This experience is very traumatic for Adelaide and creates a fear of the ocean.
As an adult, Adelaide is headed to her family’s summer cabin with her husband, Gabe (Winston Duke), her daughter, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), and her son, Jason (Evan Alex). We see Adelaide having flashbacks to that day at the carnival and a therapist explaining she might have post-traumatic stress disorder.
One day her husband asks if she’d like to go to the beach. At first she refuses, then eventually agrees. On their way to the beach, they see a man being put into an ambulance. Jason, the youngest, later sees what appears to be this man standing on the beach.
Upon returning home from the beach, Adelaide tells Gabe about the hall of mirrors incident. Suddenly, the power goes out. A family appears at the top of their driveway, wearing red jumpsuits. Gabe confronts them, but they just stand there. The red jump-suited family begins approaching the house and you hear glass breaking and a loud banging as they try to enter the home.
When the two families meet each other, Jason announces, “it’s us.” The doppelganger of Adelaide tells the story of a girl with a shadow (seemingly the evil Adelaide) and how the one girl got everything, and the shadow got very little.
The evil doppelganger family attacks each respective member of Adelaide’s family who must fight for their lives. What follows are several tense and stressful scenes with various unsettling moments and a few surprises.
Adelaide and her family soon discover that it’s not just them who have evil doppelgangers. They see a news report where people wearing red jumpsuits holding scissors are attacking people. The camera pans over to red jump-suited members hand in hand, forming a wall.
“They think like us and they know where we are,” observes Adelaide and the family decides to keep moving. Who will survive? Who are these evil doppelgangers?
The actions of the characters coupled with ominous music is tense and gets your heart pumping. While large parts of this movie are upsetting, there is some humor sprinkled in, which helps undercut the seriousness of the plot. There are multiple metaphors and much symbolism throughout the movie. To mention a few, 11:11 is a theme, bunnies are seen throughout as well as the mention of tethered and untethered people.
This is a fantastic horror movie that leaves you wanting more in the final scenes. I saw this film multiple times and missed the great twist at the end the first time. I would highly recommend seeing this in the theater. A+++