“Once upon a time, there was a girl and the girl had a shadow. The two were connected, tethered together.”
So because I have so much more to say about Us, I just wanted to talk about some points that I personally thought were important. Because this is “spoiler talk”, I think it’s crucial, but rather redundant, that I say that there are spoilers ahead. Anyway, now that I have given you the opportunity to click away, let’s get into some key points about Jordan Peele’s newest horror film, Us.
What happened at the end of Us?
I explained in my spoiler free review, which I suggest you read before diving into this any further, that the twist ending was ruined by some of the marketing for the film. But before I delve into that, let’s talk about the ending really quick. At the end of the film we find out that right under our feet, there are underground tunnels that stretch for thousands of miles. And here, is where a mysterious entity or organization has been experimenting with cloning. Bunny cloning was soon left behind only to move on to the riskier project, cloning human beings. The human cloning could flawlessly clone a person’s physical appearance, but their individual souls are what severely lacked in the process. So now, with that information, we soon find out the Adelaide, who we’ve all come to know and love, is actually the clone (a.k.a the Tethered) of the real Adelaide. The clone version kidnaps the real little Adelaide and soon replaces her in the real world, with the real Adelaide being forced to live in the underground facility and eventually becoming, Red. You know, the woman with the creepy voice saying “be careful…”
Everything is revealed to us in one big finale. When Adelaide and Red duel each other in the end, it takes on a dance like resemblance. This dueling of two similar beings was so similar to the ending of Annihilation when the female protagonist is fighting with a mirror image of herself. But here we are, the fake Adelaide rescues her son and fleas the chaotic area with their lives intact. But is that all?
Now going back to the marketing of the film, more importantly, the original trailer. The trailer clearly shows the young Adelaide and the Tethered coming into contact with each other in the house of mirrors. More so, it clearly shows the Tethered girl choking the real Adelaide. So basically if you watched the trailer as much as I did, you already knew what was in store for the twist ending. Oops…
Did Adelaide blow her cover early in the film?
Yes. Adelaide, though now extremely acclimated to her human life, does still go back to her Tethered ways a few times. For example, during the killing of the last Tethered twin girl at the Tyler house, Adelaide kills the girl, but she begins to grunt and make noises much like the Tethered doppelgänger family we just met. Adelaide does the same thing when she finally kills Red in that epic showdown. One could even say that Adelaide gives herself away as the song I Got 5 On It plays in the car. As she snaps her fingers, her lack of a beat symbolizes her inability to fully acclimate to her “real life” persona.
The rebellion and what is the significance of Jeremiah 11:11?
Throughout this film, we see the rebellion taking place. The Tethered have now risen to the surface to reclaim their lives and no longer be captive. When Red is speaking to Adelaide in the underground facility, she explains how she was chosen to be the leader of the Tethered rebellion. The rest of the Tethered who cannot speak, but only make grunting sounds, believed that she was their only hope, because she was not like the rest of them. So where does Jeremiah 11:11 come into Red’s rebellion? Jeremiah 11:11 says:
“Therefore, thus says the Lord: I am bringing upon them a disaster they cannot escape. Though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.”
So what does this mean? It’s pretty self-explanatory, but when looking at this bible verse through the eyes of Red, we see how she has been forced, along with the other Tethered, to live in captivity throughout her life. Now that they have risen to the surface, they will take out their vengeance through gargantuan proportions to finally be free.
Inspired by the unity of the paper cut outs on her Hands of America t-shirt, Red and the Tethered must come together. But this time, instead of raising awareness to those who are homeless or hungry, Peele calls us to recognize, and not turn a blind eye to the social injustices that take place although we may not may not see it first-hand.
What does the color red symbolize?
So now let’s dive into Red’s head a little deeper. Peele takes inspiration from so many other horror films that have come before him. Therefore, Us would not be a horror film without the symbolism of red. From The Sixth Sense to Eyes Wide Shut, directors have put their symbolic meanings in the color red. And here, much like directors before Peele, red is crucial. We see these mysterious Tethered beings wearing red coveralls. But what does it mean? Red, how fitting a name, is enamored by the color. It means a sense of freedom and rebellion to her and her Tethered counterparts. Some of the last moments she remembers from her real life are her eating a red caramel apple or the exit sign that glows red as she roams around the house of mirrors. These are Red’s lasts images of a normal life that she has clung to for so long.
What was the symbolic meaning of itsy bitsy spider?
The itsy bitsy spider in my initial viewing was nothing but a simple tune that the real Adelaide whistles as she roams around the house of mirrors. But as the film progressed, I noticed something oddly familiar about that tune. Especially as Red lays there, bleeding out, she whistles the song to Adelaide as to trigger the memory of what initially happened between the both of them. So for those who don’t remember, the song states
“The itsy bitsy spider, climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.”
As the real Adelaide descends into the house of mirrors, which so boldly states, “find yourself,” Adelaide enters just before the rain begins to pour. The fake Adelaide, however, begins her ascension to the real world. In essence, climbing up the spout. The fake Adelaide takes out the real Adelaide sending her to now live in the underground facility. But later in the story, there was no more rain as the real Adelaide, now Red, begins her ascension to reclaim the life that was so viciously taken away.
At the end, before Red and Adelaide have their epic fight, Red tells Adelaide that those who cloned the humans failed to fully reproduce the soul that’s inside each human being. However, we not only have evidence to refute such sayings, but the upbringing of both of these females tell us otherwise. Between these two women, though Red’s “human life” was stolen, she did not remain mentally intact. Therefore, Peele may be showing us the points of nature vs. nurture. Though Adelaide was the one who was born without a soul, and Red was born with a soul, these two women ended up having very different outcomes in their lives. So are we born to be caring and loving people, or is it our surroundings that impact us so much, that as adults, we only know the traits of what we were raised with? So maybe both women were born with a type of soul. But Adelaide’s life obviously brought about more opportunities than Red, giving Adelaide, in the end, a “better” life. Thus, forcing Red to become the underprivileged person, fighting and scratching for morsels of a decent life.
One of the elements that led me to give the film the rating that I did was because of Us’ various plot holes throughout the overall story. So my first example of this is the whole story of the cloning. Who was doing the cloning? Was it the government? This leads me to the question of how was this entity or organization collecting the DNA that was used to make these clones? Did they collect the DNA at the carnival? But because these Tethered people were across the nation, I can only assume that this mysterious organization collected DNA from people all over. We never find the answers to these questions, but maybe it’s supposed to remain that way. I believe it would have added another layer to the film. Now whether you believe these questions should have been answered, is completely up to you.
I love diving deep into the analysis of a movie, and Peele gives us films that when analyzing and re-watching, adds to a better understanding of the film. I must say that with Get Out and Us coming from his mind, I cannot wait to see what other horrific stories he may have up his sleeve.