It is a damn shame that we are supposed to fit in all of our spookiness into one season of the year. Why should we cram all of the creepy, scary and terrifying parts of this world into one day? Your favorite ghouls don’t think it’s fair so we decided to bring some spookiness to you this spring! If you’re feeling extra spicy, you can check out our “Hallowpressed” series we did the entire month of October! We did a deep dive into urban legends, ripped horror movies to shreds, and scoured the internet for the scariest stories we could find!
This post Hayley and Kayli are going to discuss what scares them most in horror movies and review Jordan Peele’s newest installment “Us.”
From the beginning of time horror films were made to provoke our innermost fears using scary monsters as our source of terrors. These monsters come in all forms, from mythical legends like vampires and the undead to more realistic ones like serial killers with a thirst for suffering. But what happens when the scary monster isn’t some crazy werewolf or chainsaw wielding man? What if the monster is you?
In Jordan Peel’s new movie, US, this very theme is explored and asks the audience to challenge the way we look at monsters. The main character of the move, Adelaide, played by Lupita Nyong’o, fights against a clone version of herself and must face her past to save her family. Throughout the movie we find there is a group of people living in abandoned underground subway tunnels as a result of a government experiment gone wrong. Each person in the tunnels is a clone of someone living above ground and somehow each pair is connected. The underground clones rise to the surface and begin killing their other halves in an effort to get revenge. By the end of the film we realize that Adelaide’s clone, Red, was actually born above ground and Adelaide herself is the clone from below. This begs the question, who is really the enemy?
When I realized the twist I found myself confused as to whom I should consider the “evil monster”. Adelaide, who locked Red underground so she could live on the surface, became less likable, as I realized she stole Red’s life and took it as her own. I became sympathetic with Red, even though she had been the murderous villain the entire move. Once I knew why Red wanted revenge, I understood her actions while also understanding Adelaide’s quest to save her family.
Peel did a great job in creating a horror film in which the true monster was circumstance. Both Red and Adelaide were the same person; the only defining factor was where, and how, each woman grew up. One had love and opportunity, the other had hate and a lack of free will. Because the girls switched there is no denying the fact there is no difference between the subway dwellers and the humans above. No one group is better or morally superior than the other and this is what I feel Peel was trying to convey.
This theme reflects America’s current state on marginalized groups. Minority communities are often looked down on as full of criminals and people who chose their circumstances. The truth is, they are a product of an environment beyond their control and anyone given similar conditions would end up the same. Peele shoved a mirror up to the audience and wants it known the true monster isn’t them, it’s us.
I can’t even hide my love for horror movies, even if I tried. As soon as I get on Netflix, I am scrolling through the horror genre section like a kid in a candy shop. From a young age, my favorite memories were curling up on the couch each weekend and watching a scary movie with my family. We all know that not every horror movies is created equally and I do prefer specific topics much more than others. My favorite sub-genres of horror are zombies, demons/possession, ghosts/haunting s, and aliens. Now for my least favorite sub-genre I would definitely have to say that by far gory movies are the worst. I know that may sound hypocritical since a lot of people think scary movies equal gory movies. But there is a distinct difference between tasteful gore and bloodbath gore. The “Saw” franchise is a perfect example of this. The first movie highlights the desperation of the characters with the use of gore. Ol’ boy literally cut his whole leg off because there wasn’t an escape in sight. Later on in the series, they’re just going for the gusto with their over-the-top kills and it no longer adds anything to the story.
So, what makes a horror movie scary to me? Based on the sub-genres that I enjoy, there seems to be common theme between them. At the core of them, I think the scariest thing is the overwhelming sense of doom they create. With the impending zombie apocalypse, I find myself thinking quite often about my strategy on how to survive. But how would anyone really survive? My dude, if the whole world got infected by this disease is there really anywhere safe? Sure you might make it a couple of days, but what’s the end goal? There is a lot more of the infected than you. With demons and ghosts, how the hell are you going to fight something that is literally unseen? You could call in some priests to bless the place, but what are the chances that it actually worked? You wouldn’t know until it was too late. With aliens, it is a lose-lose situation. They’re either there to take over our planet because we are incapable of keeping it alive or they’re here to experiment on us. The seemingly inescapable terror these creatures invoke are the things that scare me the most. My favorite movies that highlight these sub-genres would be: ‘Train to Busan,’ ‘Hereditary,’ and ‘The 4th Kind.
I was super excited watching Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ since I saw the previews for it at the end of 2018. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed ‘Get Out’, so I was expecting another banger with this film. Unfortunately, I felt kind of disappointed with ‘Us’. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t like the film because there are lots of elements that I did enjoy. However, I think it could have had a stronger execution if there was a little bit more preparation. Like most films, the interpretation of the meaning behind ‘Us’ is highly dependent on the audience. Some can see it as a movie about us versus our innermost demons, others can see it as a commentary about those who have access to resources (the rich) versus those who don’t have that access (the poor). Some even say that the title ‘Us’ can be read as the ‘U.S.’ so the theme changes to a message about the U.S. as a country. Solid themes that I can definitely respect, but this movie experience was different than ‘Get Out’. I never felt tense. I was never on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. I feel like horror movies strive for you to be uncomfortable, either while watching the movie or with lingering thoughts after the viewing. That’s not how I felt with this movie at all. Some of my qualms with this film was the reasoning behind the tethered project. Like it was just weird how after all of that time, effort, and money the government kind of just dipped on the project. If their goal was to control the world above, why did they give up and just leave the tethers there? Why not kill them? This could also be another way to support the theme of the movie being about the U.S. The government does have a tendency to come in and try to fix things but leave before the project is complete or when things get hard. Also, the voice of the real Adelaide was not scary at all. It kind of broke the tension of the movie whenever she spoke. Overall, I don’t think this movie was terrible. It definitely didn’t live up to the hype that I put on it myself. I don’t know if I would classify this movie as a horror film though. Maybe more of a social commentary with horror elements. I would rate ‘Us’ a 6/10.
Links to Hallowpressed: