Us has only been in theaters for one weekend, but I literally cannot stop talking about it because wow. The film, a horror flick set in the central California city of Santa Cruz, follows a woman (played by the ridiculously talented Lupita Nyong'o) and her family as they face off against...well, themselves. And if you've seen it, you were probably too frozen in fear to notice the Easter eggs and double meanings in Us that remind us that in Jordan Peele's work, not everything is what it appears to be. Spoilers ahead.
If you watched Us already, you may have walked out of your showing experiencing all five stages of grief, particularly sheer denial at that ending (I can't be the only ones pouring out a 40 for Red). Peele, who wrote, produced, and directed the movie, is known for requiring his audiences to pay close attention to the events as they unfold; his 2017 box-office hit Get Out also overflowed with nuances so slight that they were almost unnoticeable upon first viewing. Us is no different. If anything, Peele ups the ante.
Too busy clutching your neighbor in fear to notice Us' Easter eggs? No worries. Lucky for you, we stopped screaming long enough to keep an eye out. Here are six things to look out for...just in case you work up the courage to see Us in theaters again.
The VHS tapes
The opening scene of Us is a flashback to the '80s, complete with a really old TV and couple of VHS tapes. The video tapes are titles of movies that foreshadow the events of Us: The Man With Two Brains (two beings tied together), C.H.U.D. (underground creatures surfacing to terrorize those above), and even The Goonies ("It’s our time now. Our time, up there!”). I really should have seen the whole thing coming just in those first minutes.
"The Itsy-Bitsy Spider"
As young Addie strolls unsupervised through the Santa Cruz boardwalk, she whistles "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" to herself. This motif shows up again when adult Adelaide is at her family's beach house, watching intently as a spider makes its way across the coffee table.
Finally, before Adelaide takes her life, Red uses her final breaths to whistle that same haunting tune. Guess she really liked that song.
One of the most chilling parts of Us is its soundtrack. Perfectly chosen to set the mood for the storyline, every song utilized in this film serves a purpose. When the Wilsons are driving down to the beach, Adelaide snaps along to the musical stylings of Luniz's "I Got 5 on It," but she's absolutely missing the beat, an early sign that something may be amiss with our protagonist.
Ophelia, a cheeky play on Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa, blasts N.W.A.'s "F--K tha Police" throughout the house instead of actually calling the police while family friends Josh and Kitty are cut down by their doppelgängers.
As the Wilsons get settled at their beach house, Gabe is seen sporting a grey crewneck sweatshirt with the word "Howard" printed across it. It's not explicitly stated, but one would assume that Gabe is an alumnus of Howard University, one of the most prolific historically black colleges/universities in the country.
The cast has also been seen rocking HU paraphernalia on their press tour for the movie. Points to Peele for being intentional about supporting the culture.
The meaning of the rabbits in the film is highly debated, but we'll keep this one simple. Yes, they were food for those below, but it's also probable that Peele was trying to point out the similarities between the animals and the Tethered. The film has been considered by some a commentary of societal inequality, with the doppelgängers representing the underprivileged, under-served population that is exploited by the government while those up above live in ignorant bliss to their plights.
Rabbits, like the Tethered, are experimented on for science and have to live out their days in captivity.
Michael Jackson's "Thriller"
It's only right that Peele pays homage to one of the scariest music videos ever in his horror film. Besides being one of the best songs to ever exist (I'm not debating this), "Thriller" is also a tale of false identity. Just like MJ is a zombie passing himself off as a human, Adelaide has spent her whole life suppressing her Tethered side. As it turns out, she's actually the monster that her family has been running from, but besides Jason, they'll never know.
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