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You're Next review

The beauty of shock cinema is that, every time you’re scared it’s spent, something proves you wrong.  

Crafted by a veritable Who’s Who of indie horror – director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett are both V/H/S alumni – this witty home-invasion flick doesn’t quite reach the meta levels of The Cabin In The Woods

B ut you get the sense the filmmakers have seen The Strangers , Ils, Straw Dogs et al and are determined to bring something new to the party.

The party in this case is a refreshingly grown-up family reunion at a country house, attended by black sheep A.J. Bowen (A Horrible Way To Die) and his australian girlfriend Sharni Vinson (not to mention directors-turned-actors ti West and Joe Swanberg). 

After a lengthy meet-and-greet, the recriminations start flying; then the crossbow bolts do, as the group are besieged by a gang of masked killers.

What follows is the wraparound sequence V/H/S deserved but didn’t get – funny, smart and spiked with shocking spurts of red. 

It’d be the perfect companion piece to this year’s No One Lives , another slickly sick b movie that makes good on its titular threat.

Whether cracking wise, or cracking skulls, Wingard and barrett combine imaginative stalk-and-slash sequences with belly laughs, although the horror and comedy do sometimes undercut each other. 

“Anyone know this guy?” asks Vinson after making use of a kitchen utensil on someone’s face.

“It’s kind of hard to tell,” is the response. even the tiresome “Let’s split up!” moments come with a wink. 

Meanwhile the eclectic casting and equal-opportunities approach to carnage make it impossible to tell who’ll survive the ordeal. 

Surprising rather then subversive, You’re Next isn’t quite next-level material, but it’s always a few steps ahead of the audience – and the competition. anyone with a flicker of affection for the genre knows how rare that is.

Verdict:

Funny and tense, rather than hilarious and terrifying, You’re Next doesn’t rip up the rulebook but it’s definitely read it. If all horror comedies were this good we’d be laughing – and squirming.

 

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