Us might not reveal the motivations behind its evil doppelgängers until near the end of the Jordan Peele’s new movie, but an Easter egg reference to another horror film in the very first scene is actually a pretty huge spoiler. Here’s how one of the first things you see in Us reveals some key details about the ending — and also shows off Peele’s deep appreciation for the genre.
Warning: Spoilers for the ending of Us below.
The actual first thing you see in Us is a wall covered in bunny-filled cages, which slowly zooms out to reveal even more bunnies as the opening credits play. That’s also a scene that has a big payoff later in the movie when we visit the room where those bunnies were stored and learn the gruesome reason behind their existence.
But it’s the next scene that really hints at some major spoilers. On an old-fashioned TV, we watch a clip about Hands Across America, an extremely bizarre real-life charity stunt from 1986. This also comes back later in the movie (Peele really packs in those details), however, it’s the VHS tape-lined shelves around the TV that really matter. And two movies in particular stand out: Goonies and C.H.U.D..
Let’s cover Goonies first, since it’s the better known of the two. The lighthearted 1985 classic follows a group of kids who explore an underground cavern looking for buried treasure. It’s basically the opposite of Us, which focuses on an army of human clones who emerge from their underground home to kill everyone on the surface and stage a massive protest.
As for C.H.U.D., this 1984 sci-fi thriller tells the story of a group of monsters living under the streets of New York. These flesh-eating beasts — actually humans mutated by radiation and chemical waste — return to the surface to feed. The plot may be a few steps from Us, but the original tagline still fits perfectly with Peele’s new movie: “They’re not staying down there, anymore!”
C.H.U.D. isn’t exactly a well-known movie either (even calling it a cult classic is probably a stretch). So it’s definitely a deep cut reference and a bit of a power move by Peele, showing off his extensive knowledge of horror cinema as he ascends to the status of “Master of Horror.”
Oh, and in case you were wondering, C.H.U.D. stands for “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller.”
We’re pretty sure Peele left the cannibalism part out of Us, but considering that movie’s open ending, anything is possible.
Us is playing now in theaters. C.H.U.D. is available on Shudder, Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, and the Microsoft Store.
'Us' Ending Spoilers: An Early Cinematic Easter Egg Reveals the Entire Plot – Inverse