Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS For Us
Jordan Peele's Us concludes with a shocking twist but the numerous clues to the reveal are intricately woven throughout the film. The Oscar-winning filmmaker's follow up to Get Out stars Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson and Winston Duke as her husband Gabe. The Wilsons' relaxing family vacation in Santa Cruz is violently interrupted by a home invasion caused by their exact doubles - who seem determined to torment and then kill them.
Us is a scary straight-up horror movie but it also contains deep and complex themes and layers. As the film's terrifying plot unravels, it's revealed that the doppelgangers of the Wilson family - who are also played by the same actors, including Shahadi Wright Joseph as Zora and her double, Umbrae and Evan Alex as Jason and his double, Pluto - are part of the Tethered. These strange people are exact doubles of every single person in the United States, and live in secret tunnels beneath the country. The Tethered are led by Red, Adelaide's doppelganger, and they are attacking the surface to replace their opposites. It's all tied to an incident in Adelaide's past when, as a little girl, she got lost in a hall of mirrors and encountered her Tethered double.
Related: Screen Rant's Us Movie Review
The biggest twist comes at the end when it's revealed that Adelaide is actually a Tethered herself who switched places with Red. She kidnapped the young Adelaide, trapped her in the Tethered's underground lair, and replaced her on the surface in 1986. Since then, Adelaide has been living her double's life while the original Adelaide was forced to live as a Tethered named Red and was condemned to mimic Adelaide's life above. However, Jordan Peele expertly hid all the clues to this jaw-dropper in plain sight. Here are all the clues that Adelaide was a Tethered all along.
- This Page: All The Clues Leading Up To And Including The Home Invasion
- Page 2: All The Clues After The Wilsons Survive The Home Invasion
The Clues In Adelaide's Fear Of Going Back To Santa Cruz Beach
Adelaide makes it clear to Gabe that she doesn't want to go back to Santa Cruz Beach. At this early point in the film, after the opening flashback to when young Adelaide wandered from her parents at the Boardwalk and got lost in the Shaman's hall of mirrors in 1986, the audience is meant to think Adelaide is reacting to that childhood trauma. But Gabe talks her into going, promising that they will leave before dark and Adelaide relents. There are clues both during the trip to the beach and while they are there.
During the car ride, Gabe plays Luniz's "I Got 5 On It" on the radio. Adelaide tells Jason to "get in rhythm," foretelling the later reveal that the Tethereds are forced to mimic their duplicates above, something Adelaide, as a Tethered herself, is aware of. Some have also speculated that Adelaide snapping distinctively out of rhythm is a clue that something is off about her. Later, during the home invasion, Adelaide instructs Jason to "show [Pluto] one of your tricks," because she knew Pluto would mirror whatever Jason does. As they get to the Santa Cruz Beach, the family car is stopped while an ambulance loads the dead body of a homeless man, whom Adelaide (and the audience) recognizes as the older version of the man carrying a "Jeremiah 11:11" sign in the 1986 flashback. Adelaide knows him not just from underground, but she must have passed his double at the Boardwalk when she is found by her parents after she switched places with Red.
At the beach, the Wilsons meet up with their friends Josh, Kitty, and their twin teenage daughters Becca and Lindsey. Kitty is chatty with Adelaide, who apologizes for not conversing by saying, "I have a hard time talking" - this foreshadows Red's hoarse voice when she appears.
The Clues In Adelaide's Flashbacks
Adelaide's flashbacks of what happened after she got lost in the hall of mirrors are tricky, since the audience is meant to believe they're the memories of the original Adelaide. We see two flashbacks of Adelaide in the back seat of her parents' car as they argue after she's found. The second flashback is key: Adelaide reacts with wide-eyed wonderment when it starts raining (because she had never seen rain before).
At a child psychologist's office, Adelaide listens to her parents and there's a cut to her at a ballerina studio where her reflection looks back at her in a mirror. The child psychologist encourages Adelaide to draw, sing or dance to tell her story - Adelaide chose to dance and became a talented ballerina (though she says she peaked at 14) - something she knew Red, who is Tethered to her below, would be forced to mimic.
Adelaide's Reflection In The Window Sets Up That She's One Of The Tethered
The first major visual clue Jordan Peele offers is in the scene in Adelaide and Gabe's bedroom when she confesses why she wants to go home. Adelaide tells Gabe about when "she" was lost in the hall of mirrors as a child and saw her doppelganger - though it's really Red's story she's telling. But the key is Adelaide's reflection in the window as she speaks: her eyes are glowing and her face is distorted - just like young Adelaide's face was when turned around and faced her lost double in the hall of mirrors.
"There's A Family In Our Driveway" And How Adelaide Reacts
When Adelaide put Jason to bed and told him "stick with me, I'll keep you safe" (foreshadowing her climactic rescue of him), she sees his drawing of the Jeremiah 11:11 man (who is the Tethered version with bloody hands after he killed his double) starting his link in the Hands Across America chain. Again, Adelaide recognizes it because she had seen Hands Across America before - on young Red's shirt after she kidnapped her.
Jason then enters his parents' bedroom and tells them, "There's a family in our driveway". The family is holding hands just like Hands Across America. When Adelaide sees them, she starts calling the police, but first she says "No no no!" - a noticeable reaction of recognition.
Adelaide Recognizes Red And Her Shackles
When Red and her Tethered family, Abraham, Umbrae, and Pluto, break into the Wilsons' house and confront them in the living room, watching how Red and Adelaide interact is quite revealing. Red opens her arms wide in a welcoming position - a gesture of reunion with Adelaide. And while Gabe, Zora, and Jason are understandably confused about what's happening, Adelaide's reaction is quite different. She yells at Gabe to stop offering them money or his boat.
The biggest clue in this scene is when Red shows Adelaide a pair of shackles and demands that she chain herself to the table, Adelaide again reacts with recognition - naturally, she remembers the shackles. After Red tells the Wilsons the story of the Tethered, Adelaide says, "You want me, right?" but this question is more of a challenge and has deeper layers.
- Us (2019) release date: Mar 22, 2019