jordan peele just revealed the truth behind that 'us' ending

Warning: Big Spoiler Energy.

by Danil Boparai
02 April 2019, 3:50pm

US horror movie

With Jordan Peele's latest horror magnum opus Us smashing box office records to earn the second-best opening for a live-action original film ever (Avatar is still number one somehow), it's safe to say there were a lot of people, this writer included, left scratching their heads at the film's final twist.

The film (SPOILERS, btw) opens with a young Adelaide Thomas happily on holiday with her parents at Santa Cruz beach, until she wanders off to a mirrored funhouse and is confronted by a creepy doppelgänger.

Writer and director Jordan Peele then fast-forwards us to current day, where we see a slightly unhinged adult Adelaide, portrayed expertly by Lupita Nyong'o, travelling with her own children and lovable doofus husband on a holiday to – you guessed it – Santa Cruz! Things take a terrifying turn quickly, as their holiday home is invaded by an identical "tethered" family in red jumpsuits, armed with super sharp scissors and led by Adelaide's evil double known as "Red".

What follows is over an hour of gory and jumpy terror, as the two families battle to the death for survival, and it is revealed that Red is, in fact, the leader of an underground identical population that have climbed up into the light to take back control of their lives from their privileged above-ground selves.

Like any horror classic, Peele saves one last stomach-wrenching twist for the film's thrilling finale. As the audience cheers Adelaide's brutal triumph over Red, her son Jason seems unable to connect with his victorious mother and we realise that she's not quite who we think she is, as a flashback reveals that Adelaide was, in fact, the underground doppelgänger from the fun house all along!

Unsurprisingly, the films ending has spawned a slew of various Reddit theories and Youtube explanation videos about Adelaide and the film's wider political and metaphorical message, but honestly who could really say what any of it meant? Even writing that brief overview of the film's plot was confusing enough.

Luckily for us, Peele himself decided it was time to step in and just appeared on the Empire Podcast tell us what in the actual fuck was going on:

"This movie’s about maybe the monster is you. It’s about us, looking at ourselves as individuals and as a group. The protagonist in the movie is the surrogate for the audience, so it felt like at the end of the day, I wasn’t doing my core theme any justice if I wasn’t revealing that we have been the bad guy in this movie. We’ve been following the villain. I say villain lightly because I think there are many experiences of the film, and I think a lot of people go through a question of what is good and evil? Does that even exist? Both characters are lovable and terrifying, based on the lives they’ve led they’ve just sort of inverted the paths."

So there you have it. You're a baddie! I'm a baddie too! I guess after that there's nothing to really do but take a long hard look in the mirror and collectively question our own existence like you would as you leave the bathroom at a house party at 4am on a Sunday morning.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

Jordan Peele