BLU-RAY REVIEW: Us (2019) Blu-Ray Release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (2019)

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A film with great ideas and a flawed execution; Jordan Peele’s Us hits Blu-Ray with a plethora of special features that really open up the ideas involved in the execution and fundamental themes in the film.

Going into 2019, one of my most anticipated films of the year was Us, writer/director Jordan Peele’s follow-up to 2017’s Get Out, a tremendous look at the psychology of race relations and code switching as explored through the lens of Twilight Zone-esque science fiction. Us seemed like it would be right up my alley; seemingly inspired by films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Stepford Wives and the fear of the doppelganger; the uncanny valley of the other and how it inspired dread and disgust on the viewer.

That being said, while Us has some tremendous ideas in this world-building of a universe where the government or some unknown deep state creates replicas of all the living Americans in service of some unknown apocalypse, suggesting A Boy and His Dog, or waiting for a moment to take over ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers, it doesn’t really hit those premises in a really interesting way. We get the journey of Red (Lupita Nyongo) and her family as she stakes to regain her identity from Adelaide and to lead her Tethered brethren to a promised land where they can be free of the underground. On the flipside, we have Adelaide (Lupita Nyongo) who wants to keep her family safe and away from Santa Cruz and the knowledge that these tethered doppelgangers could come back and take her away from the family and life she has crafted.


While the film has a lot of allegories and social commentary, it suffers from pacing issues and those issues really could only be solved by excising scenes of the movie that supply gore and suspense, rendering a lot of the film’s messaging inert. The duplicates attack on the Tyler family doesn’t add anything to the film except letting Elizabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker get some comedic moments in prior to their demise. Similarly, this gives the Sheldon Twins as Io and Nix a chance to visually reference the Grady Twins in The Shining that doesn’t come up otherwise. The points the film makes are a bit heavy-handed or just odd with the whole Hands Across America coda serving as a weird version of a statement to signal their ascension. But it comes down to taste and those moments didn’t hit for me. With that being said, the film is a technical marvel in execution and craftsmanship and the film’s myriad bonus features on this release speak to that care and vision.


Us comes presented in 1080p High Definition Anamorphic Widescreen with a 2:35:1 ratio. The transfer is well-done as to allow shadows and lowlights to be distinguishable in night scenes with no crushed blacks or hues in color-tinted scenes. For a film set mostly at night or in dark spaces, this is crucial and the transfer speaks to the care taken to achieve this feat.


The standard Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Copy version includes a slipcover featuring the B theatrical poster with Red holding a mask of Adelaide’s face, versus the A poster featuring a close-up of Red’ scissors. Best Buy also has a steelbook version exclusive to their store with a black steelbook and a close-up of the scissors.


Blu-Ray features skippable trailers for Ma, Best of Enemies, Inside Man: Most Wanted, Hotel Mumbai, and Greta.


This is where the disc really shines, it’s essentially a mini-film school taught by Jordan Peele breaking down all the symbolism, performances, throughlines and philosophy behind the film. Even if the film doesn’t totally work for you, this makes it worthwhile as a blu-ray purchase.

– This feature explains the psychology of playing the Tethered, how Jordan Peele wanted the audience to identify with both characters, the normal version, and the Tethered. This basically breaks down the main family and gives you the perspective of Peele in casting them in both roles, which Peele sees as a draw in getting actors onboard. Nyongo speaks of looking at research on impostors in informing her performances. She also gives an insight as to playing the Tethered as cockroaches, still but scurrying to make them harder to kill but easy to spot. Genre speaks to the personal and gets out these visceral reactions that are the core of us, says Peele to close it out.

– This feature speaks to the difficulty in making Us, which involved shooting everything twice. Some tricks used to make this happen included Peele mimicking Nyongo’s voice in delivering dialogue opposite her as Red so she could stay in character as Adelaide and have a virtual scene partner. She would also ask Peele to stage takes with the most dominant character in a scene being shot first so as to have that footage available to mine so as to react. Funny moments include that while today face replacement and CGI allows this type of doubling to be more common, they weren’t above using a split screen technique pioneered by the 50’s Disney movie The Parent Trap, which Peele would call the Hayley Mills whenever the technique was to be used.

– This is one of the longest extras. It’s essentially Peele guiding you through his influences in making the film, everything from A Tale of Two Sisters, to The Birds, to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Night of the Living Dead. This should be a lot of interest to people looking to visit or revisit films that might make the film work better for them and Peele largely breaks down why these films informed the choices he made.

– Here Peele speaks to his wanting to make an evil double film and the mythology of doppelgangers and his wanting to address the primal fear of the other. He also speaks of privilege and the haves and have nots and how he uses that metaphor to inform the choices of privilege in the wealthy and also as Americans, some have to suffer, so others prosper. That also speaks as to the use of Hands Across America.

– This is one of the coolest features, showing Nyongo staying in character throughout the filming even between scenes.

– Seven Second Massacre – this breaks down the shooting of The Tyler Massacre scene, showing the storyboards, aesthetic, and choreography of the scene and how the massacre takes all of 7 seconds in real time. While I found this scene unnecessary to the films pacing, it does look cool and shows you the care taken in executing it and how important Jordan Peele and the actors felt it was in establishing the other doubles.
– It’s A Trap – Here, Peele breaks down Pluto’s death by fire and the mirror game between Jason and Pluto and how he dies due to Jason’s will, but it’s still Red’s plan to sacrifice Pluto as a pawn ultimately.
– I Just Want My Little Girl Back – This breaks down the origin and backstory of The Tethered as seen through the eyes of Adelaide when she is taken by her other. This is really interesting and again one of the better of the features.


There are 7 deleted scenes:

I AM NOT EVEN NEAR YOU – Features Jason and Zora. Jason is playing with his lighter and Zora stares him down and throws an air punch to which Jason flinches. Here, to show their relationship near the start of the film. I can see why this was removed.

RABBIT SEASON – The family drives into Santa Cruz and Adelaide being freaked out by sailors in identical outfits invoking the rabbits from the underworld. This kind of tips off that Adelaide is really Tethered, so I can see why this was removed.

THAT’S BADASS – A longer version of Kitty and Adelaide’s talk on the Santa Cruz beach, with Tim Heidecker’s character interjecting. Speaks of turning the Nutcracker dance scene in the origin near the ending into a solo. I can see why it was cut, since in the film later we see it was ultimately a duet between her and her mirror self.

DRIFTWOOD – A longer cut of the family escaping on Gabe’s boat with their Tethered selves coming to the pier. In this longer shot, we see Abraham’s body has drifted to the shore confirming his death. Kind of superfluous, since his death scene is pretty graphic.

THE P IS SILENT – An alternate ending focusing on Zora and Gabe instead of Jason and Adelaide, more reminiscent of a zombie film ending.

I WANNA GO HOME – Longer version of the origin of Adelaide’s time in the underground with her meeting the Tethered versions of her parents.

– Alternate improvised versions of the conversation between Tim Heidecker and Winston Duke’s characters from early in the film on the beach. Here, we also see the slates tell us the film was shot with a 40mm lens on digital.

– The full performance by Adelaide of Grand Pas De Deux from the Nutcracker. Done as a duet with her Tethered self unknowingly. Seen only in montage shots in the film, very unique to see it all cut together as a feature here with the audience in one shot and their tethered doubles in the other, sort of reminiscent of Possession (1981) and Isabelle Adjani dancing manically in the underground. This also seems to be when the other Tethered come to find Adelaide/Red isn’t one of them.