There are such a lot of streaming choices out there nowadays, and so many conflicting suggestions, that it’s laborious to see by all of the crap you can be watching. Every Friday, The Verge’s Lower the Crap column simplifies the selection by sorting by the overwhelming multitude of flicks and TV reveals on subscription companies, and recommending a single excellent factor to look at this weekend.

What to look at

“Mirror Picture,” a first-season episode of The Twilight Zone, initially airing on CBS on February 26th, 1960. Written by the collection’ creator, Rod Serling, and directed by John Brahm, “Mirror Picture” stars Vera Miles as Millicent Barnes, a stressed-out traveler in a near-empty depot, ready for a late bus. When the cranky previous ticket agent complains that she’s been bothering him an excessive amount of, Millicent sees proof that she has a doppelgänger on the station — maybe certainly one of many from an alternate universe, within the strategy of changing their counterparts on Millicent’s Earth. Quickly, the heroine and one other exhausted bus passenger, Paul Grinstead (Martin Milner), are literally encountering these doubles, quietly and creepily smirking at them.

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Why watch now?

As a result of Jordan Peele’s new movie Us opens in theaters all over the place this weekend.

The author-director’s follow-up to his surprising blockbuster Get Out is one other hybrid of deeply disturbing supernatural horror and sly social commentary — though as Peele himself has said in interviews selling the film, this trip, he’s extra desirous about terrifying audiences than in poking at their wokeness. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke co-star as a cheerful, profitable married couple who take their youngsters on a visit to the seaside to go to two previous associates, performed by Tim Heidecker and Elisabeth Moss. Then the household is disturbed in the course of the evening by the arrival of red-clad doppelgängers, who transfer jerkily, make unusual noises, and appear to need to kill them. The place did these individuals come from? Are they meant to be a metaphor for society’s undesirable… or maybe for one thing these comparatively well-to-do characters tried to go away behind?

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It’s not shocking that Peele’s filmmaking profession to date (which additionally contains co-producing Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning 2019 function BlacKkKlansman and co-writing, co-producing, and starring within the 2016 action-comedy Keanu) has been so centered on issues of racial, class, {and professional} identification. Peele and his longtime writing and performing accomplice Keegan-Michael Key pushed these sorts of buttons often in the course of the 5 seasons of their hit Comedy Central sketch-comedy collection Key & Peele. Few followers of that present although would’ve anticipated Peele’s work as a filmmaker to be so steeped within the horror style.

Maybe Peele is simply following within the footsteps of Rod Serling, who made his status within the 1950s by penning socially related dramas in the course of the heyday of stay TV, then grew uninterested in preventing with advertisers and community bosses over his political content material. In 1959, Serling created the science-fiction/horror anthology The Twilight Zone, believing — rightly — that he may get away with saying extra about American prejudice, paranoia, and greed if he populated his tales with area aliens and monsters. A terrific Twilight Zone episode freaks viewers out then makes them assume.

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Peele is at the moment co-producing and internet hosting a brand new model of The Twilight Zone, debuting April 1st on CBS All Entry. Whereas speaking about Us, he’s brazenly acknowledged that the film was partly impressed by the unique present’s “Mirror Picture” — extra for the central picture of nefarious lookalikes than for any particular message. The sociopolitical content material in Sterling’s script for this specific episode is definitely a lot decrease than standard, though it does work in some matter-of-fact observations in regards to the casually sexist methods individuals deal with a younger skilled girl out on her personal. Extra importantly, the episode subtly grapples with a standard nervousness: feeling like an unworthy impostor who could also be due for an usurpation.


Who it’s for

Individuals who take pleasure in having their spines tingled and bones chilled.

Essentially the most memorable moments in “Mirror Picture” are scary in methods which can be virtually primal, and laborious to articulate. After Millicent sees her doppelgänger’s suitcase sitting across the station, she seems right into a mirror within the women’ room and sees the lady herself, sitting on a bench and staring proper at her. Later, Paul is about to lie down for a nap when he sees his double, dashing out of the depot into the darkish of evening, smiling smugly. There’s one thing concurrently infuriating and inevitable about these interlopers. Millicent tells Paul that they’re akin to kudzu choking out wholesome crops, in a metaphysical case of “survival of the fittest.” Or — much more unnervingly — possibly Millicent and Paul are the weeds.

Serling by no means explains precisely what’s taking place, or what it means. As a substitute, he, Brahm, and the forged all work collectively to emphasise the inherently unsettling components of this specific situation: the sparsely populated, underlit bus station, the nervousness of a delayed arrival on a wet evening, the frustration of being condescended to by an unhelpful worker, and the concern of being utterly alone in the course of nowhere when every part begins going awry. That is what one of the best Twilight Zones — and so lots of the finest horror films — achieve this properly, turning unusual areas into backdrops for nightmares that really feel eerily acquainted.

The place to see it

It could be simpler to say the place not to see The Twilight Zone. That is the uncommon basic TV present that’s been licensed broadly to a number of streaming companies, slightly than staying unique. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video all supply The Twilight Zone to subscribers. So does CBS All Entry, the place Peele’s new model of the present will premiere.

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