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Fans of Jordan Peele's latest box office smash, Us, may have spent hours digging up Easter eggs and analyzing eerie imagery only to discover that one of the film's most prominent metaphors is the use of the color red. This motif begins as the film opens on a seaside amusement park one Summer evening in 1986. An 8-year-old girl named Adelaide strolls along the boardwalk with her inattentive parents. Moments later, Adelaide wanders off alone, drawn to a mysterious energy emanating from a funhouse on the beach. The second she begins her solo journey, the color red becomes a dominant symbolic force attempting to warn our doomed protagonist of the dangers to come.
Warning: major spoiler follow.
Thing - Adelaide - Hand - House - Horrors
If you recall, the last thing Adelaide grips in her hand before she enters the house of horrors is a bright red candied apple. The camera lingers on the fruit's glossy surface before she enters the maze. Soon she finds herself the victim of a vicious kidnapping, at which point, the last thing she sees is a bright red exit sign that she can never quite reach. Ferried deep underground by her doppelgänger, Adelaide eventually winds up handcuffed to a bed. Her "Thriller" t-shirt replaced with a "Hands Across America" sweatshirt, and the line of figures emblazoned across the garment are red in color — eventually becoming the emblematic inspiration that draws her lost soul back to the surface world.
When the Us trailer first arrived back in December 2018, Peele revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he gave Lupita Nyong'o 10 horror classics to study so she'd have a better understanding of the monster mythology behind the Tethered. This list included The Sixth Sense, which famously uses the color red to indicate anything in the real world tainted by the supernatural world. Sound familiar? The opening...
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