US

Cert 15 116mins Stars 5

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

A suburban family holiday near the coastal resort of Santa Cruz, turns into a fight for survival when attacked in their house.

They’re terrorised by a family who are identical to themselves, except for wearing prison fatigues and 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 fearful 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 fable which combines deadpan humour, acute social observation and stomach churning violence.

The assured storytelling is in the cruel tradition of folktales in leading 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 political paranoia typical of 1950’s sci-fi, which isn’t surprising as the script is influenced by an episode of TV’s The Twilight Zone from the era.

Writer, director and co-producer, Jordan Peele is the multi-talented and busy creative force who was responsible for 2017’s comedy horror smash, Get Out, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. 

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

It’s a privilege to watch as Peele pushes on creatively, and I’ll be shocked if this isn’t scaring up support at next year’s Oscars.

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