timespace coordinates: 1986 – 2019 Santa Cruz, California
Us is a 2019 American psychological horror thriller film written and directed by Jordan Peele, starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker. The film follows a family who are confronted by murderous doppelgangers known as “the Tethered”.
Critic Jim Vejvoda related the Tethered to “urban legends” and “xenophobic paranoia about the Other”, (…) Journalist Noel Ransome viewed the film as being about “the effects of classism and marginalization”, writing “the Tethered are effigies of this same situational classism. They’re trapped—mentally and physically—and ignored”. Joel Meares of Rotten Tomatoes also noted that the Tethered, referencing the “we’re Americans” line, are representatives of the duality of American society, how some citizens can afford to live on top of the class system, while others are stuck in illiterate poverty. He also noted the title Us could mean “U.S.”, or United States.
The Tethered’s red jump suits and single glove were an allusion to Michael Jackson along with the “Thriller” shirt seen on young Adelaide, and Peele has stated that Jackson was “the patron saint of duality”. Peele referenced many other instances of 1980s culture, including allusions to The Lost Boys and Hands Across America, stating “Everything in this movie was deliberate, that is one thing I can guarantee you. Unless you didn’t like something and that was a complete accident”.
The film contains numerous references to Jeremiah 11:11, which reads: “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen to them'” (NIV). Critic Rosie Fletcher commented on the context, with Jeremiah warning Jerusalem was facing destruction due to false idols, and expressed the opinion that the film’s characters also “worshiped the wrong things”… (wiki)