- “Us” was inspired by the episode of the original “Twilight Zone” series called “Mirror Image.”
- The film stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke.
- To date, it had the second-best opening weekend in 2019 – behind only “Captain Marvel.”
- It’s so scary, it’s reportedly scaring some film-goers away from wanting to go to Santa Cruz, where the film was shot.
Chances are you’ve heard about “Us,” the new horror film which raked in $US70 million in its opening weekend. But if you haven’t gotten a chance to go see it yet, you may be wondering what to expect, especially because its trailer is so mysterious.
Here’s a spoiler-free roundup of what you need to know about “Us” before you see it.
Writer/director Jordan Peele first terrified audiences via the silver screen with 2017’s deeply unsettling and Oscar-winning ‘Get Out’
Fans have theorised that the two films are connected – or at least are set in a shared universe – but Peele himself has neither confirmed nor denied this.
We can say for sure that the two films themselves share neither cast members nor characters.
‘Us’ features a knockout cast, including Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker
Other stars include Shahadi Wright Joseph, who voices young Nala in the upcoming live-action version of “The Lion King,” Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who played Black Manta in “Aquaman” and Omar in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Anna Diop, who plays the dual roles of Koriand’r and Starfire on “Titans.”
It follows a family on vacation that makes a grisly discovery
According to the film’s official synopsis, it follows “Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe, and their two children for an idyllic summer getaway.
“Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family.”
If ‘Get Out’ was more of a thriller, ‘Us’ is more of a straight-up horror film
Rolling Stone even called it“spill-your-soda scary” when the publication interviewed Jordan Peele prior to the release of “Us.” Peele said that since he loves horror films so much, he wanted to create a more traditional scary movie, rather than a “social thriller.”
“As a horror fan, I really wanted to contribute something to that world,” he told Rolling Stone.
Peele had star Lupita Nyong’o do homework before shooting ‘Us’
Her homework was the kind every cinephile would love – Peele had her watch these 10 key horror films to get her mind right for this project. No spoilers, but many people have found horror movie references, including from this list, in the film, so if you’ve seen them, keep an eye out.
‘Us’ was inspired by an episode of the original ‘Twilight Zone’ series
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Peele revealed that the first-season episode “Mirror Image,” in which a woman meets her doppelganger in a bus station and quickly becomes convinced that it wants to take over her life, was a big inspiration when he wrote this screenplay.
Peele also told /Film that George Romero’s original “Night of the Living Dead” was a big inspiration as well.
The entire original “Twilight Zone” series is currently streaming on Netflix if you want to check it out prior to your “Us” viewing.
Peele ran with the idea that people are their own worst enemies – which is how he came up with the idea of the Tethered, which are the doppelgangers encountered in the film.
No spoilers here – if you’ve seen the trailer, you already know about the Wilson family doppelgangers even if you didn’t previously know Peele’s name for them.
Peele told Entertainment Weekly that he “wanted to forge this new mythology that explored our duality and the duality of the characters” – and thus, the Tethered were born.
In an interview with NPR, Peele expounded on this subject,
“It starts with the fear that I can’t explain. This idea that if I saw myself on the street, you immediately know that one of you might go. There’s only room for one. And on top of that, if you see yourself, and yourself smiles back at you, you know the other one has the upper hand.”
While ‘Get Out’ was most definitely about race, ‘Us’ isn’t, according to Peele – but he also explained why representation even without an explicit message is so important.
Instead, it’s a story about a family who goes on vacation and then horrifying things happen.
Peele told NPR,
“Just by putting a black family in the center of this movie, which is not about race, we see shades of what it means to be African-American that aren’t out there. Part of the systemic failure in representation is that we are relegated to boxes. And I think, even if it’s something that feels simple or not particularly imaginative, like a black family on the beach, I think it’s important, and has a great effect, both within the community and outside the African-American community, to continue to present the spectrum of what we are and how we deserve to be represented.”
The opening weekend box office figures for ‘Us’ doubled expectations – and made it the second-biggest opening weekend of the year behind ‘Captain Marvel’
Variety reported that it made $US70 million in North America – when early estimates had predicted an opening weekend in the $US38 to $US45 million dollar range. The film currently boasts a 94% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film is reportedly so terrifying, some people who have seen it no longer want to visit Santa Cruz – which is where the film’s events take place
SFGate reports that even people who already know and love Santa Cruz – and especially the Santa Cruz Boardwalk – no longer want to go there after seeing the movie.
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