Given its title, you can be forgiven for assuming that Adam Wingard’s home-invasion thriller will be just another blood-soaked body-count flick. But You’re Next is better than that. A lot better. An upscale couple (Barbara Crampton and Rob Moran) arrive at a remote vacation home to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary with their four grown children and the kids’ significant others. But before the bickering family can get through their first dinner, all hell breaks loose. A trio of sickos in cutesy-creepy animal masks armed with crossbows and axes start killing off members of the corduroy-and-cardigans clan in brutally efficient ways. The relentless violence does get to be a bit much, but what juices this bare-bones premise and lifts it above the weekly slew of run-of-the-mill splatterfests is Wingard’s canny knack for leavening his characters’ gory demises with sick laughs and clever Rube Goldberg twists (razor-sharp piano wire hasn’t been used this well since 1999’s Audition). It’s like Ordinary People meets Scream. While AJ Bowen (Hatchet II), Sharni Vinson (Step Up 3D), and director-actor Joe Swanberg all stand out in the cast, You’re Next is smart not to fill the screen with familiar faces; they’d ruin the guessing game of Who’ll make it to the end? Speaking of which, you’ll want to brace yourself for the last shot. It’s so deliciously twisted, it will make you walk out of the theater feeling like you just endured a grueling, giddy workout. B+
NEXT OF KIN Twists and turns will keep you on (or losing) your toes in You're Next (Corey Ransberg)
Genre: Horror; Starring: A.J. Bowen, Barbara Crampton, Joe Swanberg; Director: Adam Wingard; Release Date Wide: 08/23/2013; Runtime (in minutes): 1; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Lionsgate
Posted January 17 2015 — 5:04 PM EST
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