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Jordan Peele's "Us" Explained

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Ash has a bachelor's in English Lit. She loves analyzing fiction and obsessing over books, film, and television.

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Us is a 2019 horror film directed by Jordan Peele. It stars Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke . . . and it scared the living crap outta me. I guess that's what I get for going to see it alone.

I've noticed that the film is a little confusing for many people. Makes sense. Most horror films are based in Christian beliefs: demon possession, crosses, vampires, things that people are familiar with in America.

Us, however, doesn't borrow from any known religion. Instead, it borrows heavily from spirituality, taking sacred concepts and turning them into a comedy-horror.

Because I am deeply spiritual, the meaning of the symbolism in the film immediately became obvious to me. At first I wanted to be annoyed. Then I reminded myself that Christians have put up with Hollywood twisting their beliefs for decades.

If they can deal, I can deal.

So -- with perfect detachment and aplomb -- allow me to explain some of the more baffling things in this film for the spiritually challenged.

Finding the Self

In the opening of the film, Adelaide Thomas (Madison Curry and Ashley McKoy) is a little girl in 1986 who is at the fair on the boardwalk with her parents. She enters a house of mirrors with a sign that says something like "Spiritual Journey: Find Yourself."

Within the spiritual community -- and especially within the Twin Flame community -- the goal is to find oneself, usually through embracing ones inner child. This is often done through healing old wounds from the past and remembering the person you were before the trauma, then being that person again. It is a journey of self-discovery and self-love.

It is actually a beautiful, life changing, and sacred thing.

When Adelaide goes inside the funhouse, she encounters an owl. In spirituality, owls deliver messages and share secrets. The owl was a sign that Adelaide should leave the funhouse -- a sign she did not heed.

Adelaide travels deeper through the house of mirrors and encounters her exact replica -- her inner child. She is so disturbed that she starts screaming.

This is, again, symbolic of the spiritual journey. It's about learning to face ones self and ones inner darkness. Most people can not look in the mirror and face who they really are. Most people want to believe they are good people and are terrified of discovering that they are just human and flawed.

The entire movie is symbolic of this. For instance, Adelaide's daughter, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph), used to love to run track and now wants to quit. When she is faced with her doppelganger, she is forced to embrace who she is and must run in order to survive.

11:11

Now an adult, Adelaide keeps seeing signs and synchronicities, such as 11:11, songs on the radio ("I got five on it!"), and other strange coincidences that make her feel as if she is going crazy (this is actually pretty realistic when it comes to a spiritual journey).

In the spiritual community, these signs are usually seen as benevolent messages from Source and the angels, while 11:11 is actually a holy number. It's a portal, allowing divine energy through. In Peele's movie, 11:11 appears to be a "portal" that has opened, allowing dark entities -- evil clones -- to come through.

Within the spiritual community, 11:11 is also the number for Twin Flames, which are two people who share the same soul, having been split in halves before birth. Adelaide's doppelganger even speaks of the phenomena as "the soul remains one shared by two."

Twin Flames serve as portals allowing the world to rise into a higher consciousness, a state of unconditional love. Because they are the same person in two bodies, they perfectly mirror each other in personality (though not always in physical appearance), and when they incarnate on the physical plane, they come together in divine union with the mission of raising the planet's vibration.

"Good Vibrations"

Yes, "vibration" is another spiritual term that was borrowed for this film. During the scene where the Wilsons are murdered by their twins, the Beach Boys song "Good Vibrations" plays on the radio.

Within the spiritual community, it is believed that everything is made of energy. Positive energy is a good vibration, while negative energy is a bad vibration. To vibrate high means one is connected to Source/Spirit/God and pure love. To vibrate low means the opposite -- that one is trapped in negative energy.

The Twist Ending

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The end of the story eventually leads Adelaide full circle back to the funhouse, where she discovers an underground facility. Apparently, the government had been cloning people in an attempt to control them -- one soul, two bodies. The experiment failed, and the "tethered" clones were abandoned.

Adelaide's doppelganger, Red, was their leader. She and Adelaide have a really cool fight, where Adelaide tries to kill Red, who nimbly side-steps her to a really great soundtrack. Eventually, Adelaide wins the fight, and it's revealed that she was the original Red. She killed the real Adelaide and stole her life, switching places with her when they were children.

Because Adelaide's son, Jason (Evan Alex), was hidden in the locker, he heard everything and is the only one who suspects the truth. The film ends with "Adelaide" smiling darkly.

This movie was really cool. I love horror comedies (Scream comes to mind), so I loved the humor in this. I can't wait to watch it again in the comfort of my bed, and -- because I can't resist saying it -- it makes me really happy to see a film where black people are depicted as normal human beings in interesting and even leading roles -- rather than jolly sidekicks, comic reliefs, slaves, and disposable tokens.

Thanks, Peele.

© 2019 Ash