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/Salumni – this witty home-invasion flick doesn’t quite reach the meta levels of The Cabin In The Woods.
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.
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.