Us [2019] Doesn't make any sense, right? (Open Spoilers)

I finally watched this movie but I couldn’t find a thread about it, either because one doesn’t exist or because searching for things that are “Us” related is futile.

I loved Get Out, and I thoroughly enjoyed Nope despite the plot getting a little flimsy towards the end. But Us left me scratching my head. Spoilers below…


So the government creates secret clones of everyone in the US, and then abandons them in tunnels, which we’re told are proliferous. But we see one of these tunnels, and despite the fact that the clones can only eat rabbits and don’t seem to possess the mental acuity for any kind of hygiene, it’s spotless?

The clones are able to travel anywhere they need to, including following their tethered normies on vacation?

The clones are so tightly tethered to their normies that they pair up and breed in an identical manner for decades? What happens if someone does on the top side? Does the clone die? How is an abandoned government project able to stay so in sync with the completely unpredictable “real” world?

And then there’s the plot twist, wherein a child gets trapped in what basically amounts to an unlocked room for 30 years and never thinks to just walk out?

Before you all come at me with pitchforks, I understand that this movie is not to be taken literally. But if you wanted to make a feature length version of Hugo from Treehouse of Horror VII, surely you can come up with a plot that is a little more solid. Like…

Let’s say instead of the entire country, this takes place in a small community of government housing near a research facility in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico – think the neighborhoods that were thrown up near Los Alamos. While the residents of this community think they’re working on some top secret government project, the truth is that they’re the project, as the government has created clones of all of them. But the clones are tethered to them, and so the government has to build underground houses to keep the clones close to their hosts, to prevent the psychic connection from breaking. And the residents all feel creepily compelled not to leave because their clones are keeping them anchored, and if they do try to leave the government convinces them to stay. An outsider comes in and finds it incredibly odd that nobody has left the community in like 30 years; they’re all getting married and having kids completely within this little cluster of government housing. Eventually the clones rise up and then we can have the “What if the bad guys in a horror movie were actually ‘us’” premise.

Maybe a bit bereft of the social commentary that Peele was going for but at least it could explain the setup.

That’s one of the drawbacks of combining SciFi with Horror; if you take too much time to explain why, say, the dead are coming back to life, you risk overriding the audience’s panic mode and putting it in analysis mode. The most successful ones just show what is and not why it is. I thought Us struck the right balance.

I, too, tried to head canon it to no avail after it ended and it has probably ruined future viewings. It’s still a great Horror flick for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet or had it spoiled.

It made not a jot of sense when I watched it, and I kind of thought “well, that started interesting and went to completely shit after a while”. I decided not to examine it anymore after that.


I just saw it with my 14yo daughter, who’s on a horror movie kick (we’ve also watched The Thing and The Menu, to get a sense of what works for us). It’s her first Jordan Peele movie–and I’m kinda glad, because while she loved it and I enjoyed it, I thought it was the weakest of the three.

Everything up to the ending was pretty great. Lupita Nyong’o scares the living shit out of me and is the most brilliant horror villain I’ve ever seen. I paused the movie to predict that Gabe was gonna shoot Abraham with a flare gun given his previous conversation with Josh, and then straight up cackled when that got lampshaded.

But the exposition at the end? No goddamned sense whatsoever. I’d predicted that Red was actually the original (having played Phantasmagoria way back in the nineties), and still thought it didn’t make any sense. I wish he’d left it unexplained: it would’ve been unsatisfying, but not frustrating.

I tell people to mute Dark City for the first five minutes, until they see a light bulb swinging on a wire. I’ll tell people to mute Us when they see someone standing at a chalk board, until that person turns around.

I believe Roger Ebert said that, too.

It was the first DVD I ever watched (on my first laptop, on an almost-empty redeye flight across the country, with northern lights slithering below the plane).

After it ended, I watched Ebert’s commentary, which was a history of film noir and how it works. Amazing.

Ever since, I start it at the lightbulb.