US: One of the significant attributes I look for in a horror film is the ability to convince me that the situation presented could actually happen. That’s when I’m utterly drawn into its’ plot. That’s why I found myself a little skeptical from the outset about a storyline where a now grown woman (Lupita Nyong’o) returns to a southern California beach, where she suffered a childhood trauma that made her temporarily mute (But a really good dancer.), with her husband (Winston Duke) and her two children (Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph). That she never bothered to mention this bit of information to her spouse or that he never had anyone ever tell him about it reeks of unlikeliness. Mom’s fears of impending disaster are realized when the family is terrorized by a quartet of homicidal, scissor-wielding near mirror images of themselves in an unsettling home invasion sequence. Director/writer Jordan Peele’s (GET OUT) premise is a somewhat compelling one that feels like it wants to make some sort of underlying subtext about our childhood fears and nightmares remaining in our adult psyches or how our souls are divided by our darker sides. But these ideas and themes are more or less aborted in their embryonic stage since ultimately (Warning Will Robinson…plot spoilers dead ahead.) all the bloody mayhem turns out to be the result of a “doppelganger apocalypse”from subterranean inhabitants that feel like they been “borrowed” from the below ground dwelling Morlocks in THE TIME MACHINE (1960) or an episode of “The Walking Dead”. That’s too bad because there are some more than above average elements in this work including an appropriately creepy musical score from Michael Abels and game performances from Nyong’o (12 YEARS A SLAVE) and Elisabeth Moss (GET HIM TO THE GREEK) as a domestically discontented neighbor. I’ll give Peele credit for the precise way he sets up his shots with their attention to background detail as well as his penchant to create a couple of slyly humorous “jump out and yell boo” moments. But for all of this movie’s style, there are way too many ideas that remain as buried as all the “evil twins’” prior to their above ground ascension. It’s a case where the sum of the parts don’t equal a satisfactory whole and it’s the primary reason this movie doesn’t work. CRITIC’S GRADE: C

CLOSING CREDITS: Here are some movies to watch for in April and their release dates – THE BEST OF ENEMIES (April 5), PET SEMATARY (April 5), SHAZAM! (April 5), AFTER (April 12), HELLBOY (April 12), LITTLE (April 12), MISSING LINK (April 12), BREAKTHROUGH (April 17), PENGUINS (April 17), THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (April 19), THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE (April 19), AVENGERS: ENDGAME (April 26)