Following the huge success of 2017’s Get Out, Peele has come back even bigger and bolder with a film that delivers on just about every level.
It follows the story of Adelaide Wilson (a stellar Lupito Nyong’o), her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and their two children Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) as they head to a holiday home by the beach for the summer. They venture down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to meet up with their friends Kitty (Elizabeth Moss) and Josh (Tim Heidecker) and their kids. What begins as a relaxing vacation soon takes a dark and sinister turn when a group of intruders break into their home that night and not only are they frightening in both behaviour and appearance, they also look exactly like the Wilson family. It soon becomes clear that the doppelgangers have something disturbing in mind for the Wilsons.
What unravels for the rest of the film is tense, action-packed and truly unnerving at times.
This is a director who not only knows his films, but more crucially, knows his horror. There
are enough Easter Eggs and nods to classics of the genre that this definitely warrants repeat
viewings. There is such a richness and depth to this film, you can’t help but admire Peele’s
vision. The soundtrack is eerie and disconcerting, working its magic to play against the
backdrop of the story perfectly. Who knew several versions of ‘I Got 5 On It’ could be so
effective? Well, Peele has pulled that off here too.
The cast are absolutely superb. Winston Duke is charismatic and funny; at first playing the
classic naïve character who won’t believe what’s happening but then quickly transitioning
into the macho, brave father figure. Even as his doppelganger who doesn’t say a lot, he
manages to express a lot with body language alone. Young newcomers Shahadi Wright and
Evan Alex are brilliant and give superb turns as both their original selves and their alternate
characters. Even Elizabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker are entertaining as a very different kind
of family to the Wilsons; they present an ignorant, selfish form of parenting which contrasts
nicely with the former.
However, this is Lupita Nyong’o’s film and she steals every scene she’s in – which is most of
them. As Adelaide she is maternal and brave but as her doppelganger she is utterly chilling
and says so much with just the turn of her head or widening of her big, brown eyes. You can
tell she really had fun with this role and had a freedom to go in her own direction somewhat.
This is a stellar performance and the sky is the limit for her now.
Jordan Peele has created a genuinely impressive film here and one that stays with you long
after you leave the cinema. There are twists and turns, some explained and some left ambiguous. By the end you’ll want to dive back into this nightmare and witness it all again
just so you can appreciate all those little tropes and references that a true admirer of the genre
has so lovingly laid out for you.