The rabbits depicted in this film represent intense multiplication of the insecurities, flaws, and darkness of humans.
It’s pretty easy to escape others, wouldn’t you say? If we fight with a co-worker or family member, we can cut them off and never speak to them again. Even if we don’t want to do that, we have that power.
The same cannot be said when we struggle with ourselves.
I believe our struggle with self is constant throughout life. It comes in waves, and in my now 28 years of life, I believe our ultimate goal in life should be to reduce the waves as best as we can, and grab the remaining waves by the horns. In simpler terms, we will never be perfect and we will always struggle with certain parts of ourselves; but life is about accepting ourselves and all of our flaws. I think the “attack” against the people in the film occurred because the “humane” people tried way too desperately to suppress their darker selves as they never came to terms with their own darkness.
Our insecurities, flaws, and worst habits show up on our doorsteps or in front of our vacation-owned beach houses unannounced (that is if you own one, but biggups to Jordan for depicting a wealthy and educated black family). It’s crazy how when we are finally confronted with the worst part of ourselves, we are utterly shocked. “That can’t be me. Is that me?”
Even though one of the children in the movie muttered “it’s us” when the family saw the identical family standing creepily in front of their beach house, there’s still this “us verses them” concept that needs to be addressed. If there is an “us” then surely there is a “them,” and them in this case refers to the darker sides of ourselves.
All of this brings me to a concept known as othering, which means to view a person or group of people as alien to oneself. This was definitely going on in this movie, especially towards the end when the news reported the attack as coming from a strange group of people. I believe this othering occurred because they did not want to be associated with such dark, immoral behavior. It’s understandable. I mean, this dark group of people did not come in peace, they came to kill; but in my opinion, they really just came to reclaim.
They came to reclaim their lives, and if that meant killing their more “humane” sides, then so be it because let’s face it: no one wants to live in whatever special Hell they were living in [feeding off only rabbits].
I believe this movie also illustrates the age-old “Good vs. Evil” scenario. It is my opinion that the “normal” Wilson Family on vacation were supposed to be the “good” family, and the “evil” family with the scissors were clearly meant to be seen as evil. I believe we as people were not meant to holistically good or evil. Our flaws and insecurities are very much alive in us. They are living, breathing forces of murkiness that which we try to pacify, reduce, hide, or ignore. It is not until we are forcefully faced with them that they take over our happily married or fantastically educated lives.
The reason why I chose to put “humane” in quotations is because I believe the “demonic” group of people were human too. Dark people are human too, which is why I loved when the darker side of Adelaide said, “We are Americans.” They were just a bunch Americans trying to escape a life of darkness because after all, Adelaide’s darker side was the one that pulled her into the dark side, wasn’t she? No one wanted to be there, because no one wants to be dark.
I feel that humans in general attempt to do what they feel is right. They suppress gut instincts trying to accomplish what society says is normal, and that is what the “normal” Wilson Family has done. I also believe the “evil” Wilson Family was attempting to accomplish what they felt was right in their world of darkness. But in my world, life calls for a balance–a balance between good and evil, and that is what I feel is this film’s motive.
Side note: some people have tried to make this film political. I believe that Jordan Peele packs his films with just enough symbols so as to spark controversial conversation (so you can sort of make it what you want). For example, I’ve heard a claim saying that there had to be some kind of political agenda behind the fact that the demonic group of people wore red, and that the red had to represent the Republican Party. I respect all outlooks, however, I believe they wore red simply because Hell and anything “devilish” is always depicted in red.
To speak on why they carried large scissors though, I believe there was a strong desire on the demonic forces’ end to surgically cut the “humane” version of themselves out of their lives. Basically, since the demonic forces and the “humane” forces were one in the same, much like cutting off a finger or a leg that is essentially a part of you, I believe they wanted to physically cut off that part of themselves away so they can live good lives because again, no one wants to live in darkness. In the end, we see Adelaide cut off her “other self” by stabbing her other self.
She smiles at her son in the end scene because during the scene when he leads his “other self” into the fire, he recognizes what’s going on. I strongly believe he understood most of the big picture conceptually. He seemed to be the same age as his mother when she met her “other self,” except he wasn’t captured right away, he actually faced his. He entertained his desire for magic and fire, and he saw the potential damages that could arise once his “other self” raised his mask in that closet. I feel he understood way more than his sister Zora, because all Zora did was run from her problems. The father never faced his dark side because unfortunately, he was portrayed as mostly powerless (I won’t use the other p-word that my date to the movie kept calling). But like I was saying, Adelaide smiles at her son because she knows he understands what’s going on. After all, she’s the one who told him to run along with him as she was handcuffed to the table. She’s handcuffed because she never faced it. She escaped her dark side and tried to live as amicably and as normally as possible.
The demonic forces joined hands just like Americans did in 1986 for “Hands Across America” in order to raise awareness about the poverty and hunger occurring in America during that time. It’s a no-brainer what kind of awareness the dark forces were attempting to raise: their sad struggle of being locked into their own special Hell that which they so desperately wanted to escape. And the humans KNEW that this was a problem, just like we know everyday we have issues internal to us. But we ignore it, just like we might ignore the guy standing by the highway with a “Please Help” sign. Poverty…being a slave to darkness…one in the same.
The Bible verse, Jeremiah 11:11 (that continuously comes up in the movie) tells us that God will bring us a disaster so great that we would not be able to escape it, and he won’t help us even if we cried out to him. I can’t think of a worst disaster than an internal struggle with one’s self. Until we face our true, [dark] selves and accept ourselves for who we really are, there will be no cure for any sort of anxiety or pain we experience concerning our true selves.
(Another side note: back to the black man’s powerlessness, though. Let’s address that.
“You don’t get to make the decisions anymore.” says Adelaide said to her husband.
Even though we are double minorities in America, black women were still forced into several roles during slavery. We were forced as lovers to the white man, to breastfeed their children, cook, sing, do hair, and still pick cotton. Therefore it comes to no surprise that Jordan Peele chose a black woman as the leading role in this film. This is all I have to say on it. What are your thoughts? Leave comments below.)
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