Us is set to cement Jordan Peele as one of the best modern day horror directors in existence due to the unease and undertone set by his latest creation: The Tethered.
Those who have seen Us know that it is one of the most unnerving horror films of the last decade and that is partly due to the villainous characters that stalk the Wilsons.
Throughout this video I’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about The Tethered as well as the meaning behind them. This is full spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to know anything about US, then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way, I’m Deffinition and welcome to the channel where I explain it so you don’t have to!
Us: Plot Summary
Ok so first I’ll break down the plot of Us to give some context to the mysterious Doppelgangers. I won’t be spoiling the ending or anything so don’t worry about that.
Anyway, Us is set in present day and it follows The Wilsons who are returning to the mother of the family, Adelaide’s childhood home for a summer getaway.
Adelaide has a lot of unresolved trauma from her childhood and at the vacation spot she’s slowly reminded of some of the things that happened to her due to some eerie coincidences. This creates the paranoia in her mind that something bad is going to happen to her family and after a tense day at the beach, with her friends The Tylers, Adelaide and the rest of the family return home only to be confronted by a group of doppelgangers.
Us: The Tethered Explained
So who exactly are these? Well, Jordan Peele when speaking frankly about the creatures stated the following:
“We’re our own worst enemy, and that idea created this monster, The Tethered. I wanted to forge this new mythology that explored our duality and the duality of the characters. I think what was a fun challenge for actors, was finding the connections between the characters and their counterparts.”
So from that we can assume that perhaps The Tethered are birthed through subconsciouness and trauma that manifests in the film to torture the protagonists.
At the premiere for the film, when questioned the director said:
“On the broader strokes of things, this movie is about this country. I was stricken with the fact that we are in a time where we fear the other, whether it is the mysterious invader that we think is going to come and kill us, take our jobs, or the faction that we don’t live near that voted a different way than us. We’re all about pointing the finger. And I wanted to suggest that maybe the monster we really need to look at has our face, maybe the evil is us.”
This makes a lot of and though this may be a reach, perhaps the title US actually isn’t just ‘Us’ but it is also ‘U.S.’
If correct this could also mean that perhaps we must look at ourselves to be positive in order to create a better world for tomorrow. No, this is an anti-America hate rant, it’s just that perhaps the film is putting the responsibility on us for letting the world get to the point that it is.
The Scissors too hold their own significance to Peele which is conforms to the overall message of the film. He stated that:
“When we talk about the scissors and the rabbits, for every choice like that, there are several different reasons that clicked to me but the first test that anything passed was the genre test. So does it conjure the horror genre to me, which is a limitation that I feel very dedicated to working within. I think rabbits and scissors, they’re both scary things to me, and both inane things, so I love subverting and bringing out the scariness in things you wouldn’t necessarily associate with that.”
This again cements that whilst ghosts, werewolves and more may be scary on a supernatural level, in real life when compared to the mundane they are a mere fantasy. However, every day life can be subverted in several ways to show just how terrifying our world can be if used with the wrong agenda.
This is the true meaning of The Tethered, they are us or rather, what we would be if we gave into our deepest and darkest fears and desires and ended up casting out the good within in order to carry out actions that would have a negative effect.
Overall, it’s a brilliant, unique and enthralling message for a horror film that showcases just how brilliant that Peele is in creating alternate realities. It’s no wonder that, similar to Get Out, Us is recieving high praise and it’s certainly one of the smartest horrors of the last decade.
Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on The Tethered and if you have any theories in regards to them. Do you agree with me or do you take something else from them? Comment below and let me know and if you enjoyed this video then please like it and make sure you check out my breakdown of this week’s big Netflix release, Triple Frontier, which will be linked at the end.