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Top 10 Things You Missed In "Us" (2019)

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
With so much going on beneath the surface, this film deserves a closer look. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Missed in Us (2019). For this list, we’re taking a look at little details and references you might’ve missed in Jordan Peele’s latest work of horror. If you haven’t seen the film yet, keep in mind this video is one big spoiler. Watch the video at WatchMojo.com
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Top 10 Things You Missed in Us (2019)


With so much going on beneath the surface, this film deserves a closer look. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Missed in Us (2019).

For this list, we’re taking a look at little details and references you might’ve missed in Jordan Peele’s latest work of horror. If you haven’t seen the film yet, keep in mind this video is one big spoiler.

#10: “C.H.U.D.” Videotape


Although the audience’s attention is drawn to the Hands Across America commercial during the film’s opening scene, observant viewers will also notice the movie “C.H.U.D.” grouped in with several other videotapes on a shelf. While it may seem inconsequential at first, this 1984 sci-fi horror film clearly had a great impact on Jordan Peele. The film centers on a police officer who teams up with the manager of a homeless shelter to find the culprits behind several mysterious disappearances. Their investigation takes them down a manhole to the sewers where humanoid creatures have been taking people. This mirrors numerous plot points and themes presented in “Us,” from an underground society rising up to how the homeless are often overlooked and mistreated by the masses.

#9: Down the Rabbit Hole


When the Wilson family sits across the room from their Tethered counterparts, it’s almost like being at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Even the cryptic way Red speaks is very Lewis Carroll-esque. The most noteworthy nod to “Alice in Wonderland,” however, comes during the climax when Adelaide finds the entrance to the underground facility. Adelaide essentially falls down the rabbit hole to a world governed by madness. Thus, it’s only fitting that she would stumble upon not just one, but an entire population of white rabbits. Just as the rabbits seem to be multiplying, the same can be said about the doppelgängers joining hands up above.

#8: Kitty Cuts Herself


In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer Inquirer, actress Elisabeth Moss described her character Kitty Tyler as “someone who has a really good life but feels like she never got to be who she wanted to be.” Fearing that the best years of her life have slipped away, Kitty tells Adelaide at the beach that she had a little work done on her face. Kitty spends so much time clinging to her youth, however, that she’s completely blindsided when death casts its shadow over her family. After the Tyler clan is murdered by their doppelgängers, Kitty’s shadow admires herself in the mirror and cuts her own face. This parallels Kitty’s plastic surgery, but instead of preserving her looks, the doppelgänger demonstrates that beauty is only skin-deep.

#7: Red’s Vocal Cords


Where the other doppelgängers can only seem to utter grunts and moans, Red stands out as the only one who speaks fluent English. Of course, whenever Red opens her mouth, it sounds as if her vocal cords got run over with a car. Everything comes together in the end, though, as it’s revealed that Red was the real Adelaide all along. Years ago, at the house of mirrors, Adelaide was strangled by Red, who subsequently restrained her double and took her place on the surface. This not only explains why she was the only member of the Tethered who could speak but also why her voice was so piercing. Despite being chained down, the real Adelaide refused to remain silent.

#6: Next Stop, the Twilight Zone


Watching “Us,” it becomes clearer than ever why Jordan Peele was the ideal candidate to helm the latest incarnation of “Twilight Zone.” The film is full of subtle touches that echo the works of Rod Serling, although one episode in particular Peele has singled out as his main inspiration is Season 1’s “Mirror Image.” The story follows Millicent Barnes, a young woman stuck at a bus depot where she encounters somebody who looks exactly like herself. Millicent is driven to believe that this lookalike is from a parallel universe and is going to steal her life. In addition to mirroring Adelaide’s dynamic with Red, the episode touches upon themes of identity, humanity, and what it truly means to be afraid of one’s own shadow.

#5: Corey Feldman


“Home Alone” may get a shout out, but this movie actually has more references to Corey Feldman than Macaulay Culkin. The first nod to Feldman comes early in the film where young Adelaide’s mother mentions that they’re shooting a movie by the carousel on the boardwalk. The film she’s talking about is 1987’s “The Lost Boys,” which starred Feldman and was mostly shot in Santa Cruz, California. At the carnival, Adelaide receives a “Thriller” t-shirt featuring Michael Jackson, who had been friends with Feldman during his days as a child star. Finally, when Red confronts Adelaide years later in a classroom, she tells her “it’s our time now,” taking a page from Feldman’s co-star Sean Astin in 1985’s “The Goonies.”

#4: Black Flag T-Shirts


The “Thriller” t-shirt isn’t the only significant article of clothing in the film. When Adelaide is at the carnival with her parents, a man by the Whac-A-Mole game is wearing a Black Flag shirt. Consisting of four black lines, the shirt foreshadows the importance of “11:11.” Another man at the carnival holds a sign reading “Jeremiah 11:11,” which refers to a Bible verse about an inescapable great evil. Then when the Tethered ultimately emerge in the present, they commence their attack roughly around 11:11 P.M. One of Kitty’s daughters also dawns a Black Flag shirt, except the logo is now white instead of black. In retrospect, this should’ve been a red flag that something sinister was about to rise above.

#3: Ain’t Got Rhythm


When the audience is first introduced to the Wilsons, we’re led to believe they’re a run-of-the-mill American family. Through the tiniest detail, however, it’s hinted that something isn’t quite right. Driving to their vacation home, Adelaide and Gabe expose their children into some classic 90s music. Adelaide sings and snaps along with the hip-hop tune “I Got 5 on It,” trying to get her son Jason in rhythm. Here’s the thing, though: She’s totally off tempo. Knowing that Adelaide was actually Red puts a new perspective on this scene. Although she’s managed to blend in with society, Red will never entirely fit in. No matter how hard she tries to maintain a normal appearance, she’ll always be just a little off.

#2: Scissors


The doppelgängers plan to untether themselves from their shadows with scissors. This weapon wasn’t chosen at random, as Jordan Peale explained in an Entertainment Weekly interview that scissors have a duality that ties into the film’s deeper meaning. A pair of scissors is essentially a single entity containing two parts, not unlike a set of lookalikes. This isn’t the first time scissors have been used to convey such themes. Scissors frequently pop up in 1991’s “Dead Again” where Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson both give dual performances. In the Austrian film “Goodnight Mommy,” twin boys glue a woman’s mouth shut and then cut it open with scissors. Also, in Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder,” a woman being strangled uses scissors to fend off her attacker.

#1: ‘Cause This is Thriller


Standing together as a symbol, the doppelgangers all wear matching red jumpsuits and brown gloves. While not as flashy, their clothing is very similar to the jumpsuit and gloves Michael Jackson wore in the music video for “Thriller.” After Red imprisoned Adelaide, she stole her “Thriller” t-shirt in order to pass herself off as the real deal. The image of Michael Jackson’s iconic outfit obviously stuck with Adelaide for all those years, as she modeled the Tethered’s wardrobe after it. Much like the “Thriller” music video, it seems like the nightmare is over when the Wilsons drive off in the end. As Jason looks into his mother’s eyes, however, we can see that something evil is still lurking from the dark.
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