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'Us' vs. 'Them!': Pronoun horror flicks face off 

We pit Jordan Peele's latest hit against the 1954 sci-fi classic.

Lupita Nyong'o in a scene from "Us."

Lupita Nyong'o in a scene from "Us." Photo Credit: Universal Pictures/Claudette Barius

Over the weekend one of the most anticipated films of the year landed: Jordan Peele's follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Get Out,” “Us.”

Nowadays every big movie seems to be part of a larger franchise, but we'd like to kill the rumor right here. “Us,” a hide-your-eyes horror flick, has nothing to do with the 1954 classic sci-fi chiller “Them!” This is not the second entry in the Pronoun Cinematic Universe. (And “It” is not involved either.) 

In case you get confused, however, here is a study aid to help you differentiate the two movies.

Who stars in this movie?

"Us": Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker.

"Them!": A bunch of giant ants (and James Whitmore, Joan Weldon, James Arness and Edmund Gwenn).

What causes unrest in this movie?

"Us": Murderous doppelgängers who are “tethered” to a kind family on a beach vacation.

"Them!": A bunch of giant ants.

Does this movie have any distinctive sounds?

"Us": Evil Lupita's way of talk-whispering while inhaling is going to creep people out for years.

"Them!": The high-pitched, swirling squeaks of the giant ants are second only to Godzilla's roar for distinctive calls of radioactive beasts.

Does this movie feature notable music?

"Us": Jordan Peele incorporates needle drops from The Beach Boys, N.W.A., Minnie Riperton and Luniz.

"Them!": Composer Bronislaw Kaper has credits on well over 100 films from 1930 to 1972, and “Them!” is dead center of his career. He is best known, however, for writing the jazz standard “On Green Dolphin Street” that was recorded by everyone from Miles Davis to Erroll Garner to Nancy Wilson to Oscar Peterson.

Is this movie an allegory?

"Them!": It is widely accepted that the terror of “Them!” is commentary on Cold War, H-bomb fears.

"Us": Yeah, probably.


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