Nobody expected Us to be a simple slasher film. On the surface, it's a movie about evil doppelgängers and all the horror scenarios you can dream up with that kind of premise. Plus scissors. Scissors suck.
But now that it's here, it's clear that there are multiple layers that might get lost in a casual viewing. So let's to dig into all the small details it had to offer. Get ready, because we're un-tethering the mysteries behind Us. Spoilers ahead.
If you were paying attention, you might have noticed that the entire plot of Us was spelled out in the opening seconds of the film.
After that long title shot with the rabbits, Us opens on a TV playing a commercial for the Hands Across America movement. On either side of the TV are VHS tapes, which included The Man with Two Brains, The Goonies, and C.H.U.D. . It turns out that when you put those all together, you have the movie Us.
In The Man with Two Brains, Steve Martin stars as a brain surgeon who telepathically connects with a disembodied brain in a jar. Like in Us, it deals with a mental connection between two physical forms.
In The Goonies, of course, the kids' adventure leads them underground just like Adelaide when she follows her doppelgänger into the tunnels below the surface. One of the lines that Red says in the climax of the film actually comes directly from The Goonies. She says, "It's our time. It's our time up there," which echoes one of Mikey's most famous phrases:
"Down here it's our time. It's our time down here."
Finally, C.H.U.D., or "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers", deals with mutants living in the sewers under New York City who begin attacking people on the surface. The parallels there probably don't need much explanation.
Watch the video for more small details you missed in Us!
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VHS tracking | 0:25
Hands Across America | 1:42
Boardwalk vampires | 3:00
Sharp objects | 3:54
Deep connections | 4:58
House of mirrors | 5:35