It took just one line of dialogue for the woman sitting beside me in new horror movie Us to bury her face in her hands and start whimpering “oh no, oh no”.
The line was – “There’s a family in our driveway.”
It’s not normally a line of movie dialogue that would entice a cold stab of fear to plunge through your chest or force you to grip the slightly sticky arms of your cinema chair a little bit tighter, but thanks to the heavily circulated trailer for Us the entire audience alreday knew that line was the signal that the true horror was about to begin.
In the opening scene of Us we are introduced to a little girl named Adelaide (Madison Curry), the year is 1986 and she’s enjoying a night out on the Santa Cruz boardwalk with her parents. While her father’s back is turned, she wanders off onto a dark nearby beach and finds herself in what looks like an abandoned beachside fun-house packed with mirrors.
What she finds there in the darkness leaves her unable to speak for years.
Flash-forward to the present day and Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) is now a mother of two and is being driven to her childhood home for a beach vacation by her husband Gabe (Winston Duke).
Once at the holiday house, she visibly recoils when Gabe suggests they take their kids Jason (Evan Alex) and Zora (Shahadi Wright-Joseph) to the same beach where she wandered off that night, but finally gives in to her husband’s pleas to meet up with their friends under the condition that they return home before dark.
Unfortunately, the evil she was hoping to avoid shows up at their house anyway, in the form of a terrifying family who look just like them.
The home-invasion scene is bone-chilling and but also offers up a sense of grotesque relief. Up until now, the movie had been creeping along with a false air of normality, building up a creeping sense of dread, instead of just showing us the real monsters hiding in the dark and getting it all over with.
Each one of the intruders is a near-identical twin of a family member, although it is only Adelaide’s twin we hear speak (remember that piece of information while watching the movie’s last scene…).
Take a look at the terrifying trailer for Us.