Jordan Peele's Us lived up to the hype. The film, which made a killing at the box office, also proved that Jordan was going to be a major force at the box office for years to come. The film, which tells the story of a family being terrorized by their doppelgangers, has been interpreted in a number of ways since its release. Whereas Jordan's first film, Get Out had a fairly straightforward metaphor, Us could be about plenty of things. As a result, fan theorizing has begun in earnest.
Many of these fan theories seem to have been encouraged by the film itself. Every detail of Us seems planned in a way that invites speculation. Whether it's a theory about a particular plot point or an explanation of what it all means, these theories have a wide-ranging scope. When every detail of a movie matters, every detail must be analyzed. In that spirit, here are some of the most mind-blowing fan theories about Us.
We know from the final scene in Us that Adelaide and Red, the woman she was tethered to, actually switched places as children. That final scene, in which Adelaide shares a knowing look with her son Jason, has led some to theorize that Jason and his Tether switched places as well.
The evidence for this comes largely from comments made about Jason, including his apparently scattered mind, and the fact that he's forgotten his magic trick. The theory suggests that he didn't actually forget, but that he's actually tethered, and Pluto did the trick and burned his face. Jason may or may not be a Tether, but part of the movie's larger point is that it doesn't really matter.
Although Jordan Peele has only made two films, many fans are already speculating that those films are connected in some way. At least philosophically, it's easy to see why many fans of Peele's work see the connections. Both Us and Get Out are about similar social issues. It's not even that difficult to see how the world of Get Out could eventually lead to the one in Us.
The opposite is also possible. Maybe after the Tethered take over, one white family begins to steal the bodies of black people. Either way, it's very possible that both of these highly demented worlds could be one and the same.
The mask worn by Pluto for much of Us is a pretty clear reference to Jason Voorhees, but the references to Friday the 13th don't stop there. While Jason feels like the villain in the original film, we come to discover that his mom is really pulling the strings. The same goes for Us, where Pluto feels like the most intimidating presence even though his mother is the one who came up with the plan.
Although the Tethered are largely non-verbal, one fan theory suggests that they are in fact better than their above-ground counterparts. The evidence is based largely in the Tethered's apparent physical prowess. Gabe's Tether seems to be much stronger and more intimidating than he is, and Zora's Tether easily catcher her in a foot race, even when Zora gets a head start.
Although all four of the Tethered end up dead, it's clear that as a group they also got the jump on their surface counterparts. After all, there are quite a few of them holding hands by the time the movie comes to an end.
This fan theory actually has fairly little to do with Us as a movie, but it does touch on the horror movies that Us references. Much like Pluto, Michael Meyers, the deranged killer from the Halloween franchise also wears a mask. What's more, he seems to be basically nonverbal like the Tethered, and he, too, likes to do murder.
Of course, the theory is a stretch, but Jordan did mention Halloween several times while doing press for Us. Even if Michael Meyers isn't a Tether, it's clear that the slasher was on his mind as he crafted the film and its characters.
Although one theory suggests that Get Out and Us are literally connected, this theory takes a more thematic approach. The theory states that both films are about double consciousness and the way people of color, in particular, have to behave in different ways based on who they're around. As a result, they're basically two people at the same time.
In Get Out, that idea is made literal through a white brain in a black body. In Us, there are literally two versions of every person. Although both films can be interpreted in other ways, this theory tidily wraps them together, and speaks to the ideas Jordan is interested in.
The use of rabbits in Us is not something you have to be particularly smart to spot. We know that the Tethered are often forced to eat raw rabbit, and the rabbits pop up throughout the film in the Tethered's underground world. The marketing also contained references to the Tethered, though, including the scissors on the poster which look like rabbits' ears, and a Rorschach image that forms the head of a rabbit.
Zora's clothing throughout the film also references rabbits. One of her shirts features a rabbit prominently, and another says "Thổ," which is the Vietnamese word for rabbit.
Us is definitely the kind of film that's very open to interpretation, and fans have come up with wildly different ideas about what it might mean. One theory suggests the movie is about poverty, and how oblivious those who don't live in poverty are to the plight of the impoverished.
The world of the Tethered seems to mimic that of a shelter in some ways, although raw rabbit isn't ever served at shelters. What's more, the way the Tethered are powerless to decide their own fate speaks to the way that those in poverty are often basically powerless to dig themselves out of the holes they've been put in by others.
Although there's a fairly easy way to read the film as a simple thriller about bad people who rise up from the ground, that reading doesn't do justice to the film. In reality, the film lives in a grey area where the Tethered aren't monsters hell-bent on murder. Instead, they're something much more sympathetic. We realize that their lives have been characterized by hardship and pain. We know that they feel the need to act out only because of the injustice they've faced.
The surface-dwellers don't appreciate all of the things that they have, and while the Tethered's methods are drastic, some think they might ultimately be necessary.
Throughout the film, there are several references to Jeremiah 11:11, first on a cardboard sign, and later on an alarm clock. The verse in the bible states: "Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them."
Although this verse may initially seem like a dire warning about the Tethered, this theory suggests that it's actually a reference to the unceasing evil that the Tethers are constantly faced with. Their suffering is the eternal force the verse references, even as it becomes impossible to escape.
Because Us is about a world where angry, ill-treated doppelgangers who rise up against their more privileged surface-dwelling counterparts, some of theorized that the movie is really about privilege. In that reading, the Tethered are the underprivileged. They're people without any means or opportunities who were born tied to those on the surface.
It's easy to see how the film could be read as a story about underprivileged people who rise up and take what's theirs. They serve as a contrast and a reminder of all the things we take for granted every day. Sometimes, these things are as simple as the sky above us.
Us is filled with metaphors, and some have suggested that the Tethered themselves are one. The idea is that, because the Wilsons seem to be fairly well off monetarily, the Tethered represent parts of their black identity that they have chosen to repress or hide.
It's notable, of course, that the Wilsons' friends are a white family that seems to be similarly upper class. As a result, the Wilsons have chosen to repress some parts of themselves, and the Tethered represent that dynamic and the way that repression can ultimately be a self-destructive act. Hiding who you are almost never ends well.
The use of NWA's "F*ck the Police" as the Tyler family gets slaughtered in Us is perfect, but there are some who think the use of the song is even more clever than it initially seems. We know that when the Tethered first show up, Adelaide insists on calling the police. When they finally do call, the police say they'll arrive in 14 minutes, but they never show up.
Although we can't confirm this yet, roughly 14 minutes later, the NWA begins playing in the Tyler's house. Some suspect that the 14 minute wait was no accident. In fact, Peele planned it out so the music would start playing exactly 14 minutes after the phone call to the police ended.
We know that Adelaide and Red are inextricably connected. It was their relationship with one another that began the course of events in Us in the first place. As Red explains, the Tethered are the result of a failed government experiment designed to control humans on the surface. This theory suggests that the experiment worked on Red and Adelaide, which is why they both had autonomy from the beginning.
This theory also argues that the Tethered are trying to kill their counterparts to gain a soul, which explains why Red doesn't try to kill Adelaide until she's actively being threatened.
We know that rabbits play an important role in Us and what it might mean. One theory suggests that, much like each Tether is tied to a person, there's also a rabbit for every Tether. Although the rabbits are initially in cages, we know that in the present, they've been set free.
The theory suggests that Red set the rabbits free. Once the rabbits were set free, this theory goes, the Tethered were able to begin moving freely as well, which suggests that each Tether's fate is tied to the state that their rabbit is in. That doesn't bode well for the ones that get eaten.
Some eagle-eyed fans have noted that each member of Red's family is killed by a different element, which suggests that the family represents those elemental forces in some way. Abe, Gabe's Tether dies in the water. Pluto, Jason's Tether dies after walking into a fire. Umbrae, Zora's Tether is impaled by a tree, therefore killed by Earth, and Red is strangled to death, ergo, without air.
As of yet, no huge significance has been associated with this fact, but it can't be an accident. Even in death, all of the tethered are perfectly balanced.
This may not be the most obvious reading of the film, but some see its message as one about the impending climate crisis. After all, the Tethered attack from the ground and most of the movie takes place on a beach, ones which may disappear sooner rather than later. The film's very first sounds are about an impending crisis that's likely to impact the bay area.
All of this adds up to the possibility that Us is really about an impending climate crisis that most of us aren't really focused on. Maybe that crisis is caused by doppelgangers who kill us all, or maybe it's caused by a revolt from the planet we call home. That could possibly explain how all family members' Tethers are killed by Earthly elements.
The ending of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video is basically the same as the ending of Us. In "Thriller," there are two versions of MJ. One protects the girl, while the other is a monster. At the end of the video, we discover that the boyfriend version of Michael was really a monster all along.
The ending of Us is exactly the same, and the "Thriller" shirt that both versions of Adelaide wear in the film signals the fact that that twist is coming. That ending is also signaled by Red's single glove, which may very well be a reference to the single glove Michael often wore.