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Jordan Peele’s “Us,” released earlier this year to rapturous critical acclaim and big box office numbers, is a movie that rewards repeat viewings, mostly due to its rich subtext, cultural relevancy and expertly hidden pop culture nods. But it’s also a movie that viscerally thrills you, creating an apocalyptic world that you can’t help but imagine yourself in. So, it is with great anticipation that the “Us” maze opens this weekend at Universal Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights (the Florida iteration opened this past weekend; we couldn’t make the press event and are very sad about it). With this new maze, you can enter Jordan Peele’s imagination like never before.
We were given a tour by Halloween Horror Nights mastermind John Murdy, who walked us around the unfinished mazes with the efficiency of someone who had dreamed the whole thing up in the first place. Spoilers will follow, for both the film and the maze, so proceed with caution – and watch where you step!
When you get to the maze, you go through the funhouse that you see at the beginning of the movie, and Murdy joked that the first scare of the maze comes from the unlikeliest of places: an intentionally crummy-looking owl puppet that mirrors a similar gag from the movie. As you make your way through the funhouse, you eventually wind up at the house of Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke’s, with real performers portraying some of the members of the Tethered, the supernatural subterranean doppelgängers (oh, you’re going to be freaked) and eventually you go through the second, modern day funhouse and while you don’t actually descend into the underground labyrinth, you do get a chance to see the rabbits (stationary, unfortunately) and the classroom where what Murdy calls the “dance of death” takes place. There’s even an ode to the movie’s haunting final shot of the Tethered, now Untethered, stretched as far as the eye can see…
Murdy said that this was a tough maze to conceptualize, because the movie is so rich with metaphor and meaning (and isn’t, say, a standard slasher movie) and because it changes locations so often. (Don’t worry, you get to see a great scene set in Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss’ house, complete with an homage to “The Shining” and a moment when the actress playing Moss’ double cuts her face along the surgery line like in the movie) But judging by our walkthrough, which this cannot be stressed enough, was happening in harsh daylight and was very much unfinished, they did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the movie and turning the entire experience into a funhouse all its own.
Also interesting to note, Murdy said that the team had the rights to use Michael Abels’ chilling score, including the “Tethered Mix” of “I Got 5 On It” and that really creepy choral main theme. So, if your skin wasn’t crawling already …
Halloween Horror Nights runs on select nights at Universal Studios Hollywood from September 13th to November 3rd and in Orlando from now until November 2nd. So get on it. We’ll have more coverage very soon.
UsRMarch 22nd, 201981metacriticBased on 56 Critics
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