“Us” attacks social issues

Kate Erikson

Jordan Peele’s new thriller does more than just scare audience

After his phenomenal directorial debut with the film “Get Out,” Jordan Peele left fans hungry for another horror masterpiece.

The horror genre is known for being whitewashed, filled with cheap scares and lacking in plot. Peele challenges all of these stereotypes by creating two plot driven horror masterpieces that tell the stories of black characters.

In late March, Peele’s second horror film, “Us,” released in theaters. The film follows the life of Adelaide Wilson along with her husband Gabe and two children, Zora and Jason.

Taking place in Adelaide’s hometown, Santa Cruz, California, the film has a light and seemingly relaxed setting. The Wilson family travels to Santa Cruz so they can have a relaxing summer beach vacation, however, Adelaide seems increasingly uncomfortable. She is haunted by her traumatic past and she feels as if her it may repeat itself.

Adelaide’s worst fears become reality when her son tells his parents that “there is a family in our driveway.”  Each member of the family is dressed in a red jumpsuit with gold scissors in hand. When their masks come off, and the Wilson’s realize that the family mirrors them.

As the plot progresses, the family learns that the similarities are not limited to appearance, which makes their survival increasingly difficult.

“Us” is a story of survival, that not only follows the Wilson’s journey, but also unlock the origins of their look alikes.

Though the film is titled “Us,” but it can also be seen as “U.S.” as in United States.

“Otherness” is a term that is used in social sciences which refers to the way people tend to view others that are dissimilar to them by completely separating themselves from them. By doing this, they turn a person to an “it” rather than a “them,” because they cannot relate to the person due to their similarities.

“Us” tackles this issue that is often overlooked in the media. Peele does a beautiful job of portraying otherness through the tethered in the most eerie way possible.

The United States consists of many different types of people, there are layers of economic and social classes that make up this country. Amongst these layers are people who are just trying to survive and others who are thriving at the top.

Peele forces us to look at our own lives and reevaluate how we treat those who are different than us. In one scene, Jason and Pluto sit in a closet across from one another. The two boys make identical hand motions and at this moment Jason realizes that in a way, he is Pluto.

The tethered are not meant to be evil, they are just the people from down below that are finally getting a chance to breathe. How do we unintentionally oppress those under us? Are these people we are oppressing just like us but with different circumstances? These are the questions Peele wants us to ponder.

Although “Get Out” was a stronger film, “Us” was just as well written and kept the audience on their toes.

Peele has accomplished his goal of creating a horror film which features black actors and consists of a beautiful storyline that leaves viewers not only with nightmares, but also pondering how they view others.

The film has so much to unpack and is worth at least two viewings to understand the complex plot and storyline.

It will be interesting to see what else Peele creates for his eager and growing fanbase; at only 40 years old, he has quite a bit of time to create more stories that redefine how the film world sees horror.