This horror film is Jordan Peele’s follow up to his previous movie Get Out. This movie follows the Wilson family on vacation in Santa Cruz, California. While staying at their summer home at night, the house is broken into, and they are confronted by their doppelgängers which are creepier, slightly deformed looking versions of the Wilsons, who are there to take their place.
The following article contains spoilers from this point on.
I really enjoyed this movie. It had a great blend of horror, suspense, and a touch of comedy at some parts. The pacing of the story, acting, and a lot of hidden messages and meanings were all great as well. (Although I felt the beginning of the movie and some parts dragged at points, but didn’t hurt the film) I did put up a spoiler warning, but I have to warn you another, and last time, I am going to spoil plot plots and the story of the movie. This movie is best-watched spoiler-free the first time. That was your final warning.
The main story focused on the Wilson family on vacation. Adelaide played by Lupita Nyong’o had a traumatic experience there 32 years earlier where she claims to have seen a doppelgänger in an amusement fun house. She is joined by her husband Gabe, played by Winston Duke and her children Zora and Jason. After spending a day at the beach and her son witnessed a bloodied handed man in a red jumpsuit with arms outstretched, they abruptly head home. That night a family of doppelgängers break into the family summer home and capture the Wilson’s. The group is led by Red, Adelaide doppelganger. They are called the tethered, a group that looks like the main characters and are forced to mimic and shadow the movements of their counterparts. They live underground while their counterparts live above ground and free. They managed to escape, and they are out to kill their counterparts to break free from the underground.
All of that, while real slow to build in the beginning, was a great setup. I thought that the tethered was a great concept and added many different allusions of being tethered in the film. Many of the tethered would be, at certain times, be controlled by what their counterparts were and what they were doing through actions. They couldn’t speak but communication through animal like yelling and grunts. Red was the only one who could speak but very broken and straightforward like a child’s dialogue. As the movie went on, you found out the there were more doppelgänger of others who were going around on a massive murderous killing spree. Also most of the time, it didn’t seem to phase the tethered as it appeared that they weren’t controlled anymore. I’m assuming how they broke free, but if they killed their counterpart and shadowed them, should they have fallen to the ground with them? They relied on their peers for movement and control I thought. Either way, a great character concept for this film.
The acting was superb. The main cast not only plays themselves but the doppelgängers as well. Lupita Nyong’ o played the dual role of Red/Adelaide, and her voice as Red was one of the creepiest sounding voices that I’ve heard in any of the movies that I’ve seen. It was weird to see Winston Duke who played the tough guy of M’Baku in Black Panther play a role as a father that had the cliche of “wanting what others had” in movies. He also had played his doppelgänger, Abe. It was a significant role that he played well. I don’t have that much familiarity with the children, but I thought they were great as well.
The Tyler Family, the minor characters of the movie, who seemed to be a class status above the Wilsons. Elizabeth Moss played the mother Kitty, Tim Heidecker played her husband Josh, and they had twin daughters played by Cali and Noelle Sheldon. There wasn’t anything that really stood out with them, in terms of unique characteristics. But they played the family that had a good life, despite showing cracks like Kitty’s drinking and her husband’s negligence to the family through bickering. It was strange that Gabe wanted their life or instead belongings, but made sense. They also played their doppelgängers
Trying to find all of the hidden meanings and messages that the film has in one viewing was hard to do. There are some I did catch and others I didn’t. Please leave a comment if you found some hidden meaning, Easter egg, or anything that caught your interest. Going back to what I mentioned about Gabe and his wanting others possessions, a lot of the kills that the Wilsons did involve a lot of items that included upper-middle-class status. They used items such as a putter, a boat, Range Rover car. I like to think of it as the vanity of things that we long for, will kill us in the end.
11:11 and Jeremiah 11:11 were mentioned a few times in this movie. Besides being shown on a clock. The use of 11:11 besides being a parallel number and read the same forwards and backward, there were 4 members of the Wilson family. Also looking at 11:11, the figures can look like they are tethered together as well with each number mirroring and looking at each other. As for the bible verse, I looked up the bible quote, and it stated:
Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.King James Bible Verse
A fitting quote for one point in the movie when the Tyler family was murdered by their doppelgängers. Kitty was crawling to the Alexa knockoff Opheila and asked her to call the police, and instead, Ophelia plays the song F*ck the Police by NWA. Also when the Wilsons called the police for help, they never came. The support that never came from higher up. Of course, the world around them was collapsing and crashing as well. A message of our world ending with God not coming to help and a rapture happening. At least not in the context of the populace being wiped out.
There is one thing that bothered me, with this movie. The idea that the Tethered was created by the U.S. government is believable, the idea that the U.S. government abandoned them was sort of plausible. What was hard to believe was how the tethered survived unground in the tunnels and area for all of those years. They used the rabbits in the underground as food, I but didn’t see how they didn’t die of malnourishment. I’m sure rabbit meat isn’t enough to keep them going. They were clones and not of anything else like an android. They bled and died when they were struck with weapons. I can’t believe that our government would let a program with 300 million underground clones just stay down there, unsupervised. It’s a case where I feel I need a sequel to explain more backstory, but sequels could potentially ruin a good movie by making it a series.
The twist of the movie at the earth wasn’t anything mind-blowing, but still a pretty dramatic turn of events to end the film. After the Wilson family drives away in the ambulance, it was revealed that Red was Adieleie the whole time. Through flashbacks, it was revealed that Red kidnapped Adieleie and brought her underground. REd then assume Adieleie’s role. Her son was the only one who came to this revolution. It’s a great twist that was great, so long as you didn’t put the clues together and got taken away by the story.
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