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Stars: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker

Director: Jordan Peele

An ambitious, fairly silly, certainly flawed but often skilfully suspenseful second (horror) feature from director Peele, to follow his deserved breakout success with Get Out. As long as we don't question the plot's logic too closely, Peele's sophomore film provides us with quite a thrill ride. There are times, though, when things don't quite make sense.

As a child, Adelaide (Madison Curry) had wandered, as if bidden, away from her Afro-American parents while at the Santa Cruz funfair, and entered a spooky hall of mirrors, where she encountered her double.

Years later, now married to Gabe (Duke), with two children (Joseph, Alex), she returns reluctantly to Santa Cruz for a vacation, though it isn't really a spoiler to mention here that the location isn't actually a key element of the plot. The film, in fact, might be more satisfying if it were.

Returning to their holiday cabin, the family are confronted by four people in red boiler suits who are almost their doubles or, as the screenplay has it, their shadows.

Alas, it transpires that the situation is widespread, as all over the country, people find themselves confronted by their 'defective' doppelgangers - with lethal intent. It's unclear, though, what the invaders' ultimate aim is, since they have difficulty with vocal communication.

If the film had confined itself to one family, this might have had more impact. Even so, the thrills and spills, as the family dodge death at the hands of their red-clad adversaries, are spectacularly well delivered by the director with lots of juicy jump shocks, while the actors have a ball being both themselves and their evil doubles. Mike Gioulakis' cinematography and Nicholas Monsour's editing complete a smooth professional job.

The twist ending doesn't quite work, although it really would be a spoiler to tell you why.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Mar 2019