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‘Us’ Ending: How Are Movie Audiences Supposed to Feel?

[This story contains spoilers for Jordan Peele’s Us]

The following is a conversation about Us — the new Jordan Peele-directed horror movie — between Hollywood Reporter contributors Simon Abrams Steven Boone. Us often feels like a cross between a home invasion thriller and a Night of the Living Dead-style zombie movie. Set in Santa Cruz, Us follows happily married couple Adelaide and Gabe Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their two children, Jason and Zora (Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph), as they are stalked and attacked by The Tethered, a mysterious group of jumpsuit-clad doppelgangers. Since this article is about the meaning and conclusion of Us, we must repeat the above warning: there are spoilers ahead.

Simon Abrams (AKA: Junkyard John Saxon): What’s Us all about, Boone? That’s the question of the day, one that I’m half-eager and half-reluctant to answer. It’s a good question, one that Time‘s Stephanie Zacharek eloquently poses in her mixed review. Her piece’s conclusion is a good entry point for our own conversation: 

How, in the end, are we supposed to feel about these shadow people, for so long deprived of basic human rights—including daylight—that they have become murderous clones? Sometimes great movies are ambiguous, but ambiguity resulting from unclear thinking makes nothing great. It’s one thing for a movie to humble you by leaving you unsure about yourself and your place in the world; it’s another for it to leave you wondering what, exactly, a filmmaker is trying to use his formidable verbal and visual vocabulary to say.

That’s well said, even though I disagree with Stephanie’s conclusion. The movie’s thematic ambiguity is, as Stephanie argues, more feature than bug. So I can’t help but agree with the four-star review that’s Monica Castillo filed from SXSW, where she writes that “Part of the appeal of Us is how you interpret what all of

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