US

"Man vs. Himself. . . Literally"

NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

Summary:

US is a psychological horror movie about a family on vacation that’s being hunted by doppelgangers of themselves. US is thrilling and has some spiritual illusions and other positive elements, but there’s also extreme violence and lots of foul language, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.

Review:

US is a psychological horror movie about a family on vacation that’s being hunted by doppelgangers of themselves. US is thrilling and disturbing, with some light Christian symbolism, but a lot of foul language and violence.

Adelaide is still haunted by a traumatizing moment from her childhood where she wandered into a house of mirrors at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and saw a girl that looked just like her. Now, Adelaide is married to the goofy Gabe, who’s living the middle-class American dream and loves embarrassing their two children, Jason and Zora. The family goes to Adelaide’s childhood home in Santa Cruz to vacation and hang out with their friends, Josh and Kitty. Adelaide isn’t in the mood for vacationing, especially when they visit the old beach where she was traumatized as a child.

Later that night, Adelaide breaks down to Gabe and explains what she saw when she was a child, and states that she has a feeling the girl she saw is coming back for her. Abruptly, the power goes out, and they see a family of four dressed in red coveralls wielding giant scissors standing in the shadows of the driveway. Gabe tries to scare them off, but they break into the house and surround them. The family in red looks just like them, minus the murderous eyes, and the fact that Jason’s doppelganger scoots around like a dog and wears a mask over his face.

Adelaide’s double speaks in a low, raspy voice and explains that they’re shadows of Adelaide, Gabe, Jason, and Zora, who’ve lived underground and have only known coldness and pain. Gabe’s double then drags an injured Gabe outside and knocks him unconscious. Zora’s double has her run away so she can chase her down. Jason’s double, who’s called Pluto by his mother, wants to play in the other room with Jason. Adelaide is left handcuffed to the coffee table with her terrifying version of herself eager to enact some sort of violent revenge.

However, thanks to a clever move from Jason, he manages to escape from Pluto and hide. This lures Adelaide’s double away from Adelaide, given her an opportunity to break free from the coffee table. One by one, the family member barely escape their doppelgangers and escape together. However, they eventually learn that this horrific event isn’t only happening to them, it’s happening everywhere across America. Will the family survive?

Writer and Director Jordan Peele’s surprise hit thriller GET OUT was loaded with commentary on race in America. US, while just as provocative if not more, isn’t nearly as blatant in its messaging. Peele has a knack for successfully creating visceral nightmare scenarios that haunt moviegoers after they leave the darkened movie theater. It’s no surprise he signed on to executive produce and host the reboot of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Peele also nods to horror movie inspirations like Kubrick’s THE SHINING and Spielberg’s JAWS, even having one of the child characters ironically wearing a JAWS T-shirt at the beach. What’s most surprising about US is the amount of humor throughout. So much so, the humor nearly undercuts the jeopardy and terror of the situations facing the characters. The acting, led by the fierce Lupita Nyong’o, is also electrifying.

As to the message and worldview of US, like many powerful parables, there are multiple ways of looking at it. While some are already interpreting it through various political lenses, what rings undeniably true is the theological truth of the sin nature that lurks in all of us (something the filmmakers may not admit themselves). For Christians, the basic storyline of man vs. himself is ripe with allegorical meat, since we all have to put to death the old man, our former selves, that revels in sin (Eph. 4:22). Did the filmmakers intend this? Probably not, but one can’t completely dismiss the spiritual applications. At one point, Adelaide’s double explains that copies of humans were made, but they couldn’t copy the soul, only the body. Multiple times she asserts that God is testing her and called her on her mission to free the doppelgangers from below. In the end, what US asks viewers is, who’s the real monster? The copies below or the people above?

On top of the deeper philosophical, sociological and theological questions, there’s a positive moral portrayal of a mother willing to fight off anyone, including herself, to save her family. US has some bloody violence, very scary intense scenes and lots of foul language. Because of this, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.

Content:

(BB, C, Pa, LLL, VVV, A, D):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong moral worldview, with positive portrayal of a mother and father protecting their children, and Christian illusions to the nature of sin, a few references to God, and a mention of not being able to copy the soul, plus some light pagan content that includes a house of mirrors attraction that’s called “Shamans Quest,”

Foul Language:
At least, 30 obscenities (including 16 “f” words mostly used in a rap song playing in the background), 12 profanities (including strong uses of GD and JC), and boy tells his sister “kiss my anus” in an effort to not say a** and get into trouble

Violence:
Very strong violence and intense action includes frightening scenes of doppelgangers hunting down their original selves with large scissors, a man is hit with a bat and dragged across glass, a person is killed by a boat motor, multiple people are sliced with scissors in the neck, a boy’s faced is disfigured, woman is stabbed with a fireplace poker, dead bodies are seen all over the place, a family of four are brutally murdered with scissors, and the doppelgangers are often killed with objects like putters, many times with blood splatter and gore

Sex:
No sexual content, but a man comically tries to imply to his wife that he wants to have marital relations

Nudity:
No nudity

Alcohol Use:
One couple is always drinking alcohol, no drunkenness

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Man says he needs to smoke some cigarettes, and characters discuss a song that’s about drugs, but the Dad says never do drugs;

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Nothing else objectionable.

In Brief:

US is a psychological horror movie about a family who are hunted down by doppelgangers of themselves. Adelaide doesn’t like visiting her childhood home in Santa Cruz because of a traumatic event at a scary hall of mirrors attraction that happened to her there when she was young. However, her husband, Gabe, convinces her to go there with him and their children anyway. When they get there, odd coincidences start to occur. Then, on their first night, a family that looks just like them dressed in red coveralls attacks them and tries to kill them. The family runs away, only to discover that this isn’t just happening to them, it’s happening to everyone.

US is a provocative, allegorical movie with many twists and shocking revelations. The direction, writing and acting are very good. The movie has positive parental portrayals, spiritual illusions, and even some theological truths regarding mankind’s sinful nature and human depravity. The movie is definitely a conversation starter. That said, US has some bloody violence, very intense scenes and lots of foul language. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.

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