Mon, 01 Apr 2019 16:25:49 +0530
We are not the only species which can identify itself in the mirror. Although only a handful, the other animals include elephants and dolphins. But humans must be the only ones who could apply higher order of imagination to mirror images.
Products of such imagination includes Bloody Mary to the mirror scenes in horror movies. But out-of-mirror images are more terrifying. Doppelgangers or twin strangers not only becomes the subject for creative works, but also keep some people sleepless in real life.
Mainstream Hollywood movies released in theatres in my locality usually tend to be pale imitations of Conjuring, superhero wars, or the remakes from Disney. But Us seemed something different. The trailer itself was interesting. When four strangers attack and get into their house, the father asks, "what are you people?" It's his son who gives the answer: "it's us".
How their own images take solid shapes? Is it real or a group hallucination? Why shadows get angry with their owners? It's these questions which bring a viewer to the theatre.
Only twenty people behind me and nobody beside or in the front. A good setup to watch a horror movie. I sat in the most comfortable postures and started watching the film. But when I turned back to ask the chatterboxes sitting behind me to be silent, it happened on the screen -- one of the main characters gestured the others to be silent. Suddenly I remembered that strange coincidences was a key theme in the trailer. It's not persons alone who get images in the movie, it's events too.
Dead nuns, rotated crosses, and jumpscares -- these are among the horror cliches the movie avoids. What it features is pure horror, metaphors, an unpredictable storyline, and a hidden river of ideas. Remove your brain, you can still enjoy it. But if you'd like to use it a bit, you can read many themes including colonization.
Movies usually become totally predictable, or to avoid being classified so, get stuffed with meaningless twists. Us is not like that. It never loses the tension or gives answers to any of the key questions until the end. But when it ends, when the audience start to raise from their seats, the final jaw-dropping twist comes. It answers everything, and leaves a set of new questions.
I'm not getting into a spoiler review. It's not possible either. Director Jordan Peele's masterpiece asks us to stop talking and start thinking. The cast has executed it amazingly. And finally, the meaningless score by Michael Abels completes the meaning of the film.
Read more from Nandakumar at nandakumar.org/blog/