WARNING: The following contains some spoilers for Us, in theaters now.
Jordan Peele has his second straight hit horror movie on his hands with Us. Rated at 94-percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes by critics and bringing in an estimated $67 million in its opening weekend, the movie was a critical and box office success, putting the former comedian turned horror director at a perfect two-for-two.
As original as the movie is, there were a lot of influences on Jordan Peele as he made Us. Many he homages in the film itself, from a close up look at a specific VHS tape to scissors that brings back memories of a cult classic horror film from 1991. With Us finding a lot of fans following its theatrical release, here is a look at 10 movies to see after watching Us.
In a movie about doppelgangers, there is no better comparison than Vertigo. Listed on many lists as one of the greatest movies of all time, Vertigo is an Alfred Hitchcock film about a private investigator and former police officer named Scottie (James Stewart) who is hired to follow a man's wife Madeline (Kim Novak). He starts to fall for her but then she jumps to her death from a tower.
Later, Scottie sees someone who looks just like Madeline and learns she is named Judy (also Kim Novak) and he tries to recreate her in the image of Madeline. He soon learns that she was used as Madeline's doppelganger and he was used as a pawn in a very dangerous game.
Another extremely prestigious doppelganger movie is the Krzysztof Kieślowski French-Polish drama The Double Life of Veronique. The movie stars Irène Jacob as both choir singer Weronika and a music teacher double named Véronique. The movie runs parallel through the lives of the two women -- one in Poland and one in France who do not know each other but remain connected.
One of the ideas from Us is that the tethered living underground mimics the exact moves of their others who live in the real world. This means they are connected in every way and one cannot do something without the other doing it as well -- while they are tethered. While not the exact same, The Double Life of Veronique follows a similar storyline of two women, connected by fate.
David Lynch mastered making movies that really shake a person up, causing them to question everything. When Us ends, nothing is as it seems and it causes a lot of discussions from moviegoers about what happened, why it happened -- what was real and what was a lie. Lost Highway's entire theme is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes, from the characters to the audience, and blurring all lines of reality.
Lost Highway stars Bill Pullman as a musician who receives a tape of him and his wife (Patricia Arquette) right before he is convicted of murdering her. The musician then wakes up in jail in the body of someone else - a young mechanic (Balthazar Getty) where he starts to live a completely different life while haunted by the past.
David Cronenberg released his horror movie Dead Ringers in 1988, a film starring Jeremy Irons portraying two men, twin gynecologists. The movie was actually based Stewart and Cyril Marcus, real-life twin gynecologists who died together at the age of 45, although Cronenberg fictionalized their lives.
The movie is twisted and dark as the brothers have a connection that is more than just brotherly. When one develops a drug addiction, the other begins to take drugs as well to even them out so the other can begin to rehabilitate. Things get very dark by the end and their connection destroys them both.
Anyone who watches and enjoys Us but has yet to see Jordan Peele's first movie, Get Out, needs to fix that oversight immediately. Both movies are horror films that go above and beyond what fans might expect, subverting the genre and shining a light back onto the world so they can see themselves in the events happening on the screen.
While Us was more of a sociological look at who we are and what we are meant to be, Get Out is a more political look at a less overt and more subversive form of racism that exists in today's America. It picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and Jordan Peele won an Oscar for the screenplay.
For the first half of the movie, Us plays out as a home invasion film and it isn't until the family escapes from their house that they learn it is much bigger than that simple concept. However, when it comes to the way that the first half plays out, it is very similar to the 2011 horror film You're Next.
The similarities are there. In Us, a mother knows that she has to protect her children and goes on the attack against the home invaders. This is shown in great detail later when they go on the attack at the neighbor's house. In You're Next, it plays out the same with Erin (Sharni Vinson) as someone who was raised in a survivalist camp and becomes the hunter chasing the killers.
When Gabe (Winston Duke), the father from Us, finally stands up and fights, he goes at it with his own doppelganger Abraham. At this point, they head out to a boat and begin their battle on the waters of the lake. It brings back a lot of memories of another very scary and subversive horror movie, Cape Fear.
The original was released in 1962 starring Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, but Martin Scorsese directed a brilliant remake in 1991. Robert De Niro stars as a convicted rapist who sets out to torment and seek vengeance against the public defender who couldn't get him off years before, targeting the attorney's family.
Released in 2018, Sorry to Bother You slipped by a lot of people but is a movie that should live on for years as a cult classic. Directed by Boots Riley, in his directorial debut, he followed in the footsteps of Jordan Peele by creating something subversive and strange that no one expected or saw coming.
Based on the trailer, the movie is about Cash Green (Lakeith Stanfield), a man who needs a job to help pay rent and gets a job as a telemarketer. He is convinced by a co-worker to use his "white voice" to make more money and when he does (with David Cross providing that white voice), he succeeds beyond expectations. However, that is just the base of the story -- and what lies beneath has to be seen to be believed.
Look closely when watching the opening where the '80s television is playing the promo for "Hands Across America." To the left side of the TV are a few VHS tapes, including the classic movie C.H.U.D. Also, take note that before this, text on the screen notes that there are thousands of miles of tunnels under America that serve no purpose.
Of course, in Us, many of those tunnels house the tethered as they mimic the movements and actions of those in the real world. The VHS tape of C.H.U.D. is there as a clear homage to what else could live in the tunnels, as it was about humanoid monsters created by hazardous waste living in the tunnels below the city -- both movies showing monsters created due to human mistakes.
Jordan Peele has said that the Kenneth Branagh movie Dead Again was an influence on Us. In that 1991 movie, Branagh's Mike and Emma Thompson's Grace fall in love but then both begin to have memories returning from what can only be a former life, where they were also lovers destined for tragedy.
In the former life, Roman (Branagh) is found guilty for stabbing and killing his wife Margaret (Thompson) and put to death. 40 years later, their lives begin to play out again but with a very interesting twist. Those scissors that play such a large role in Us are pulled directly from Dead Again.