Count me in as loving it. I'd considered going opening night but realized I'd better wait until the weekend so I could see it during the daytime. As it was, I still immediately closed all my curtains when I got home from the theater yesterday and spent the evening with all the lights on. (Wimp?)
First of all, maybe it's just me, but it felt like the trailers didn't show much of Winston Duke AFTER the initial "they look like us" meeting with the Tethered, so I'd had Gabe pegged as the most likely to be killed in one of those early "we're not messing around" deaths. As such, I was SO tense whenever he was in danger and was pleasantly surprised when he made it through the whole film. I loved Gabe, his enthusiasm, and his dorky dad jokes, and it's a credit to the movie and Duke's performance that, despite his obvious size, his early attempt to intimidate the Tethered is so laughable.
The whole cast did a great job with the Tethered versions of themselves, making them all feel "off" in ways that were similar but not identical: Pluto being so animalistic, Umbrae's silence and that creepy smile, Abraham's wordless vocalizing (loved the moment when he took Gabe's glasses.) And of course, Lupita's performances as both characters was on a whole other level. It was Orphan Black-levels of awesome, where I completely forgot at points that Lupita was playing both of them.
I loved that the Tethered were so creepy and dangerous but at the same time oddly sympathetic. When Red (yeah, I know how tangled up that whole thing gets - the one in the jumpsuit) gave that description of what her life has been like, it was full-on horrifying. Her and Abraham being forced to have sex because Adelaide and Gabe were, getting pregnant whenever Adelaide was, having to cut Pluto out of her? HORRIFIC. And I felt for all of the others seeming so half-formed. Adelaide's more compassionate moments with both Umbrae and Pluto as they died were affecting as well.
As for the big twist, it mostly works for me. I'd wondered on and off about the possibility of Red and Adelaide having switched places in the House of Mirrors (in part because I was aware that we hadn't seen the shot from the trailer of little Red choking little Adelaide,) and after Adelaide killed Red and was grunting/making animal noises, I wondered briefly if Red's consciousness had somehow passed into Adelaide's body. But even despite all those suppositions, that final flashback still got me. I'm still turning it all over in my head, but for me, the only place where it really strains credibility is in that scene in the "classroom" where Red gave the long exposition about the Tethered. Why would she tell Adelaide all this when they both know Adelaide is really one of the Tethered?
That said, it really helps when it comes to the family's survival. While I don't doubt that Red's ultimate plan was for Adelaide and the others to all be killed, it was more complicated for her than it was for, say, Josh and Kitty's Tethered, who immediately killed their counterparts and got it over with. For Red, though, this was a reckoning. Adelaide was the only person on the surface who already knew about the Tethered and KNEW what would happen to Red below with her every action, she was the only who left Red there ("you could have taken me with you.") But at the same time, having experienced what it's like to be Tethered herself, I imagine Red did have at least one small flicker of sympathy for Adelaide's childhood decision to switch places. After all, she had to understand the feeling of being willing to do anything to get out of there, no matter what. It all adds up to this intense link between them that couldn't just be severed quickly. And that connection then extended outward. Just like Adelaide felt ever so slightly maternal towards Umbrae and Pluto, Red probably recognized the fact that Zora and Jason are, in a way, half-Tethered themselves. (I dunno about Gabe - he maybe got a minor pass just for his romantic connection with Adelaide? He must've had something, though. Dude got his knee bashed in early on and he STILL made it to the end!) So, while Josh and Kitty's family were instantly killed, Pluto sat in that closet with Jason waiting to see his magic trick, Umbrae stood on top of that car and then just stared at Zora, and Abraham PUT GABE IN A BAG and dragged him into the boat rather than just killing him. With Adelaide, it extended to the other Tethered as well, like her getting handcuffed in Josh and Kitty's house rather than killed and the way Kitty's Tethered threatened her with the scissors but never actually used it - on some level, they recognized that Adelaide was like them once, and that seemed to hold them back. It's a nice way to make the protagonist plot armor actually justified within the story.