US

Cert 15 Stars 5

Get scared out of your skin by the full-blooded popcorn thrills of this terrifying intense home invasion horror thriller which asks cutting questions about identity.

When a suburban family are holidaying near the coastal resort of Santa Cruz, they face a fight for survival when terrorised by another family who look exactly the same, and are bearing scissors and a grudge. 

Having won an Oscar for harrowing drama, 12 Years A Slave, Lupita Nyong’o is now the woman to beat at next year’s awards ceremony for this demonstration of her remarkable range in a physical demanding role.

She’s an electric wire of anxiety as the angry mother on a mission to protect her husband and two kids, and her fellow cast members are equally likeable and committed, and not shy of talent.

With telling nods to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, this is an ambitious and scalpel-sharp combination of deadpan humour, social observation and stomach churning violence.

The assured storytelling is in the cruel tradition of folktales as it leads us down a very dark path to reveal hard truths about ourselves.

As the story expands with an apocalyptic vibe there’s a welcome element of economic and political paranoia typical of 1950’s sci-fi such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which isn’t surprising as the script is influenced by an episode of TV’s The Twilight Zone from the same era.

Writer, director and co-producer, Jordan Peele is the multi-talented and busy creative force behind 2017’s comedy horror smash, Get Out, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as well as nominations for Best Picture and Director. 

And while again exploring racial fault lines in US society, Peele broadens his scope to include class division, but never sacrifices pace, excitement or knuckle-chewing action while pursuing his nightmarish vision.

It’s great to see Peele push on creatively and I’ll be shocked if this isn’t scaring up support at next year’s Oscars.

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