For someone so adamantly against the scare and lingering discomfort that comes with horror movies, I really didn't expect to find myself front and center at Jordan Peele's second mastermind, "Us". Or, not in the theater, at least.
I remember being met with intrigue––an almost sick sense of curiosity––when I first watched the full trailer. That drive and the knowledge that it was going to be an incredibly thought-provoking story lead me to the theater on a Sunday afternoon, hand in hand with my boyfriend.
"Promise me you'll give me a heads up when there are jump scares," I asked him as we were walking in. He had gotten to see the film already and promised he'd be on top of it.
What the movie didn't do, however, was restort to jump scares. "Us" is not a cheap horror story: it's a complex, terrifying story that extends beyond what is surfaced and leaves its audience frozen and uneasy for days to follow.
At its very base plot a story of doppelgangers, copies of living people, whose goal is to kill the person that they are tethered to and essentially replace them. The copies are shown holding gold scissors, a symbol with exceptional depth, perhaps alluding to the desire to separate.
Though I won't dive too much into the ending and the ultimate twist the story has (because you should really go see it yourself), one of the most unsettling aspects of the story is the idea of having to fight yourself. The copies aren't robotic in any way; they are quintessentially human.
If anything, this speaks to the ethics of how we view other people. It is quite easy to formulate political opinions, especially in regards to social welfare, when it is not you on the other end. But having to look someone who is thought of and treated as lesser than you, someone who wears your face and looks just like you, is absolutely terrifying.
Among all the praise for "Us", I've seen some negative reception related mostly around plot confusion. All I have to say to that is this: it is not the job of the storyteller to hold your hand and walk you through a movie. Perhaps the most unsettling part of this story is that you are left with some unanswered question.
The unknown is, as they say, the scariest part of any story. And "Us" will certain leave you with enough to think about to haunt your dreams for a long time to follow, but in the best way possible.
It's horror that's diverse, horror that has depth, and horror that re-imagines what we define as truly scary.