As always let’s start with this! I hate horror; I seldom watch films that explore sadistic, occult and psychological madness – through fear of it infiltrating my mind (My past life as a born again Christian influences this!). But compelled, probably by my love of Get Out and how accurate I felt its ‘hidden’ messages were, I went.
I didn’t really consider the title though… not until around twenty minutes into the film when my legs were up to my chin, my inner cheeks were between my teeth and I was reminding myself “It’s just a film”.
Twenty minutes in – I caught the fact that this horrific tale was centered on Us. Us as in - Black people. And how growing up with people that didn’t look like me in horror films – provided an escapism that I didn’t know existed until watching this film.
Now don’t get me wrong – we all can definitely empathise with the pain and suffering of all people regardless of race, but because of the starvation of black people and black families in film - I felt too conscious of the fact that this wasn’t just about the human experience but specifically about Us…
Here’s a theory -
Michael Jackson and Thriller
The film plays accolade to Michael Jackson and Thriller and opens with a little girl wearing an MJ Thriller top in the first scene.
As a huge MJ fan, I remember my mum telling me the story of rushing home to watch the
Premiere of Thriller in 1983 (7 months pregnant with me J) on channel 4.
Nostalgia and reminder-
It made sense to represent and #shoutout Thriller – as it being the first full length music video EVER worked as another unconscious reminder that this also was the first horror movie starring Us EVER and added to my terror.
With black music heavily influenced by MJ and it being a very heavy backdrop in the film, it was strategic in setting the tone and the vibe of a monstrous tale of the underworld rising!
A strong theme of Us – the movie, dealt with shadow work - something I’ve been interested in for a few years now.
The film comments in many ways on Us – a people, being our own worst enemy internally and how that leads to external violence. A battle with self, an evil self is the main premise of the film.
Note: I specifically use the word Evil rather than Dark. As a deep toned person – I am tired with my skin colour being connected to what is evil or negative. Just say they are evil and/ or negative rather than use an unconsciously oppressive word.
My interest in shadow work started a few years ago –when I decided to take my Ancestry DNA test. I wont go into too much details but I will say that finding out about your ancestral religion, discovering new family members and confronting (not always positive) information about your parents can challenge the sense of identity a lot of Us – a people, subscribe to. Furthermore it can be the root cause of rage, anger, bitterness, anxiety and loneliness to name but a few.
And here comes the shadow work. A course that only you can subscribe to when you are ready; an action you must defeat in order to not be killed; a road that requires complete faith to navigate the right direction and a life that will in the end reflect whether you’ve passed or not by the union you and your shadow make.
See my Atlanta review about my view on whom we choose as partners and how surface this can sometimes be.
In Us – the movie, I found it interesting that Lupita Nyong’os character chose a light hearted, funny man to have her children with. I especially think about procreation because it reveals the ideals of how we want our children to be. Which often exposes what we didn’t get or how beautiful we think we are. We detrimentally make surface, appearance driven, choices based on whom we fancy externally and neglect value systems and health – inner qualities. I think this neglect leaves room for that monster that lives beneath the surface to rise and ultimately not just kill Us – as individuals… but all of Us.
It loses a star because the MJ theme and huge topic of shadowing are things you need to know before watching and was a major part of the story
I caught on quite early about the big reveal at the end – and I think it was an acting choice that I didn’t agree with
He is such a visionary and I hope that one day I can make such high quality bold art involving Us.