Us is a 2019 American psychological horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele. It stars Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Anna Diop, and follows a family who are confronted by a group of doppelgängers.
The project was first announced in February 2018, and much of the cast joined that summer. Peele produces for his Monkeypaw Productions, alongside Monkeypaw creative director Ian Cooper, in the company’s first solo production venture. Peele also produces alongside Jason Blum and Sean McKittrick (with the trio previously having collaborated on BlacKkKlansman and Peele's Get Out).
Filming took place from July to October 2018 in California.
Plot[edit | edit source]
In 1986, young Adelaide Thomas goes to visit a beach while on vacation with her parents in Santa Cruz. Adelaide wanders off on her own and enters a funhouse, where she encounters a doppelgänger of herself in the funhouse’s hall of mirrors. Adelaide is later reunited with her parents, although traumatized and unable to talk about her experience.
In the present day, a now grown-up Adelaide heads to her family's beach house with her husband Gabe and their children, Zora and Jason. Later that night, the family spot four people dressed in red jumpsuits standing outside the house.
Gabe attempts to confront the intruders, only for them to attack and break in. The group then reveal that they are doppelgängers of the Wilsons and part of a larger group known as "The Tethered". The family is separated by their opposites: Adelaide is chained to a table by Red, Zora is pursued out the house by Umbrae, Gabe is dragged outside by Abraham, and Jason is taken into a closet by Pluto.
Zora manages to get away from Umbrae when the latter kills an investigating neighbor. Gabe and Abraham fight on the family boat, with Gabe eventually managing to kill his double. Jason notices that Pluto mirrors his actions almost exactly, and traps him in the closet after distracting him with a magic trick. When Red hears Pluto banging on the walls, Adelaide is left alone and manages to break away from the table.
The family regroups and escapes on the boat. Meanwhile, the Tylers, family friends of the Wilsons staying across the lake, are attacked by their doubles Dahlia, Tex, Io and Nix. Kitty, Adelaide’s best friend, begs for mercy after she is wounded but her double slashes her throat while the others kill off the rest of the family.
Shortly after, the Wilsons arrive at their beach house looking for help and encounter the doppelgängers vandalizing the house. After a fight, with the Wilsons triumphing, they turn on the news and learn that the doppelgängers have been killing their opposite selves all over the area, and are subsequently joining together to hold hands and form a massive human chain.
Umbrae reappears as they drive away in the Tyler's car, but Zora manages to kill her by amping the speed which throws her into a tree trunk. As morning comes, the family arrives at the Santa Cruz boardwalk. However, their way is blocked by Pluto, standing with their previously abandoned car that he has lit on fire. Seeing that Pluto still mirrors his every move, Jason walks backward, causing Pluto to do the same and walk into the flames. Red then reappears and abducts Jason.
Adelaide returns to the boardwalk funhouse, and discovers a secret tunnel in the hall of mirrors. Adelaide eventually comes upon Red, who claims that The Tethered were created by the U.S. government in an attempt to control the populace, but were then abandoned underground when the experiment proved a failure. For generations, the Tethered were trapped beneath the surface, doing nothing but mimicking the actions of their counterparts aboveground until Red organized them to escape. The two fight and Adelaide manages to kill Red.
The family reunites and drives away in an ambulance. As they leave town, Adelaide has a flashback: the night Red and Adelaide met in the funhouse, Red knocked Adelaide out, chained her to her own bed in the underground complex and took Adelaide's place in the surface world; she subsequently repressed the memory and grew up believing herself to be Adelaide while the real Adelaide went insane and became Red. Jason nervously puts on his werewolf mask, while The Tethered join hands all across the United States.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson / Red
- Madison Curry as Young Adelaide / Young Red
- Winston Duke as Gabriel "Gabe" Wilson / Abraham
- Evan Alex as Jason Wilson / Pluto
- Shahadi Wright-Joseph as Zora Wilson / Umbrae
- Elisabeth Moss as Mrs. Tyler
- Tim Heidecker as Mr. Tyler
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
- Anna Diop as Rayne Thomas
- Cali Sheldon as Tyler sister
- Noelle Sheldon as Tyler sister
- Duke Nicholson as Danny
- Kara Hayward as Nancy
- Nathan Harrington as Glenn
Production[edit | edit source]
In February 2018, director Jordan Peele said in an interview that he was writing a film that he would shoot and direct for Universal Pictures later that year. In May 2018, it was reported that the film had been titled Us. It was also revealed that Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, and Elisabeth Moss would star in the film.
After being dismayed by the "genre confusion" of Get Out, Peele opted to make Us a full-on horror movie, which was described by Rolling Stone as "spill-your-soda scary" compared to the "existentially terrifying" Get Out. Peele has said that an inspiration for Us was The Twilight Zone episode "Mirror Image".
In July 2018, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Anna Diop joined the cast. Additionally, at the start of principal production, the rest of the cast was announced. In September 2018, Duke Nicholson, grandson of Jack Nicholson, joined the cast in his film debut.
Principal production commenced on July 30, 2018, with filming starting shortly after, in Santa Cruz, California. Filming and initial production concluded on October 8, 2018.
Marketing[edit | edit source]
The official trailer was released on December 25, 2018. The trailer, which featured a darker version of the song "I Got 5 on It" by Luniz, featured a similar tone, editing and shots as Peele's Get Out, prompting people online to speculate the two films were set in the same universe.
A second trailer was released on February 3, 2019 respectively for Super Bowl LIII. The trailer features a narration from Lupita Nyong'o's character Adelaide speaking with her husband Gabriel about the strange coincidences happening since they arrived at their beach house describing it as a "black cloud" hanging over them. The new theatrical release date for March 22 was announced at the end of the trailer.
Release[edit | edit source]
The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 8, 2019. The film was originally going to be released on March 15, 2019, but was pushed back a week to March 22, 2019, following its world premiere announcement.