MEANING UP FOR GRABS

REVIEW: Soul's Double Trouble Brilliantly Terrifies, as "US" still injects powerful symbolism for our America

Updated 12 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
REVIEW:  Soul's Double Trouble Brilliantly Terrifies, as "US" still  injects powerful symbolism for our America

What is a doppelganger? Don't Google it until AFTER you have seen Jordan (Get Out) Pelle's "Us," which could be titled 'watch out for strangers in RED suits,' a carnival that has lots of rabbit (holes),  a prophetic Bible verse from Jeremiah 11:11 which concerns God's promises to his "chosen" people ( the jews and Israel), and insinuations relating to that "It" clown in the sewer. 

It's a simplistic opening premise: A family of means heads for a Santa Cruz, California, vacation but mom Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) is freaked; it's near an amusement park where she had a horrifying fun house experience finding herself  about the time Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was the buzz.

Hubby Gabe (Winston Duke) is giddy escaping the rat race; the two kids, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and  Jason (Evan Alex) seen unenthusiastic especially Zora when her phone goes out. 

Adelaide's premonitions about an impending catastrophe ("since we've been here, they've been happening" consciousness)  spoils their visit with the Tylers ( played by Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Cali Sheldon, and Noelle Sheldon). A "Jaws" t-shirt too. 

REVIEW:  Soul's Double Trouble Brilliantly Terrifies, as "US" still  injects powerful symbolism for our America

By darkness, a family of four clad in those red jump suits stand at the entrance roadway to the Wilson property. And by that time, mama has jerked our nerves after their day at the beach.

Dad goes out to tell the mute dudes to move on. He's a wimpy type. The second trip he brings a bat and two of the red jumpsuited sprint away. A horrific lengthy home invasion sequence ensures. That's when the Wilson's learn that the red suits without masks are doubles of themselves. 

By now you are stiff. shivering, and stuck in your seat. You're weirded out by psychological creeks and grabbed by  knife wielding angry demon clones of the family. You have images that resemble actions by Charles Manson's followers or Castro's Cuba that have an eerie connection to mirrors (go stream Rod Serling's Twilight Zone episode of "The Mirror", concerning a Latin America revolution and tyrants starring Peter Falk from October 1961, just "fill their stomachs, they have short memories. You have your freedom. You have your life. Don't throw them away." ).  All kinds of thoughts purge and emerge during home invasion survival mode.

The cast does double (triple?) duty as the upper middle class African American family and their black hearted  clones, who initially resurrect memories of "Night of he Living Dead" zombies or those invasive body snatchers from outer space virus carriers prompted by the writer/directors own youthful scares. 

REVIEW:  Soul's Double Trouble Brilliantly Terrifies, as "US" still  injects powerful symbolism for our America

Pelle has more than a psycho serial horror killers plot on his mind. Naturally (but broader), he's stroking the race card (how many horror films have a token dark skinned character that is first to be wasted?) and the well to do Wilson's think about snubbing those not doing as well (a homeless person). Pelle ensures we catch the symbols by the aforementioned  prophetic Jeremiah Bible verse insert to ponder on nearly perfectly beautiful  flawed lives and the "what if," "what's real" , "what's not" collateral suspicions that take us into early M. Night Shyamalan ("Unbreakable") and Brian dePalma ("Obsession," "Suspiria") outings.

REVIEW:  Soul's Double Trouble Brilliantly Terrifies, as "US" still  injects powerful symbolism for our America

"Us" is an alarming metaphor for the worsening callous American caste systems. And the more it unreels , the more your heart palpitates and you scratch your head. HiNT: Observe beyond "self." For all the "stuff" you cherish, others don't care about a "brand," they need shoes without holes and which stay on their feet. 

Peele talked to  the Hollywood Reporter on the subject of the darker doppelgangers:

 “Think about this as sort of the collective dark side of all of us and, that way, if you’re looking at the problems of the world and pointing your finger out, then ask yourself: 'What’s my part in it?'"

One awesome sequence has a kid in an underground mostly abandoned white venue dodging knives as "Good Vibration" Beach Boys music plays and seques to "F--k the Police." And, what's the line of reds formed from the beach into the water?  Preparation for a mass baptism or a "wall" depiction? 

Nyongo's evil-twin personalities dazzle, particularly her crying voice . According to Hollywood Reporter, "Nyong'o worked hard to find Red's frightening voice, basing it on a real-life medical condition called spasmodic dysphonia, which can be caused by emotional or physical trauma."


Go to the bath early before the intensity becomes unbearable. Otherwise you might end up soiled. If not, you can apply that lesson on the second time around, as the director freely admits you won't get it all with only one viewing. There are more Easter Eggs within. 

Peele wants each viewer to form their own symbolic political meaning. It's on the mark as an allusion to the "ME" generation and Make America Great Again followers.

"Our part in Trump’s election and the vocal MAGA supporters is an uncomfortable topic because most well-intentioned and liberal-minded folks don’t want to think they share a blame in the America we’re looking at now. We’ve found moral security in an “us versus them” mentality. But, I think it’s important to recognize that Trump’s base isn’t just comprised of white supremacists or soulless individuals like the Tethered believe themselves to be. It’s comprised of people who, like the truth of the Tethered, are the products of their environment, and feel that America has abandoned them. They are a base made up of individuals who feel that America has taken away their blue-collar jobs in factories and mines, and that the social rights that Democratic leaders and liberal voters have focused on have done nothing to help their cause in putting food on the table. This isn’t to say that one social justice is more important than the other, but rather an examination of human concerns that always results in one demographic being buried by the other," Peele explained. 

The shadowy spooks have a deeper mythical history, too,  according to Peele. I'm not going to spoil it... yet.


 

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