Jordan Peele's latest film offering, Us, has only been in theaters for a couple of weeks, but in that time, fans have broken down every detail of the horror film from the surprising plot twist, to the unique characteristics of some of the characters, to the various theories about what it all means. Now, Peele is weighing in with explanation about the film's unsettling ending and what he sees the movie as being about.
In Us' ending it's revealed that the woman audiences have known as Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) the whole movie is actually Red, her Tethered. Red knocked out and switched places with Adelaide as a child in the hall of mirrors with Red taking her place above ground while Adelaide was left in the tunnels slowly and quietly plotting revenge. "Adelaide" and her family are ultimately able to escape the Tethered, though when she catches the eye of her son Jason -- who has become aware of his mother's truth -- she smiles at him in a slightly chilling fashion.
While many people have taken that ending and run with it in some interesting directions -- particularly one about Jason's connection to his own Tethered, Pluto -- as Peele explains it, the movie is more about the real monster being us, as in the audience, the real world.
"This movie's about maybe the monster is you," Peele said on The Empire Film Podcast (via AV Club). "It's about us kind of looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in a movie is the surrogate for the audience. So it felt like, at the end of the day, I wasn't doing my core theme any justice if I wasn't revealing that we have been the bad guy in this movie. We've been following the villain."
Peele does go on to explain that he uses the term "villain" lightly and that the film is also raising questions about what's good and what's evil -- is "Adelaide" bad because she replaced her real self years ago? Is "Red" bad because she's seeking essentially vigilante justice for all the Tethered? There's a lot to unpack in both of those questions, which certainly puts into question who the villain really is and what a villain is in terms of Us, but Peele also had some thoughts about the smile that "Adelaide" gives Jason and what it means in the grand scheme of things.
"I think the little smile she gives him is a lot of things," Peele said. "I think it's a connection to the evil she one had as a little girl, but also a sort of understanding that her family unit was stronger from this experience."
What do you think? Who is the real "monster" of Us? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Us is now playing in theaters.
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