Director: Adam Wingard
Studio: Snoot Entertainment
Stars: Sharni Vinson, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen
For those on the prowl for a clean, mean, smart scare machine, You’re Next should be right up your dark alley. Directed with all-the-stops-out intensity and old-school know-how by Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die), the shrewd, exuberantly wicked Simon Barrett screenplay hinges on shockingly brutal home invasion murders perpetrated by animal mask–wearing, crossbow-wielding assailants during a reunion of spoiled, not especially likable family members. As the gore rises exponentially and corpses multiply, the movie gets better. Survivors barricade themselves in and strategize survival tactics, with a surprisingly powerful avenger rising from their ranks. Look, nothing much new is going on here from its setting (isolated manse in the woods) to its And Then There Were None whodunit-and-why? plotting. The movie has too many characters acting stupidly and it takes a while to work up a head of steam, but’s it’s well shot and propulsively edited, expertly scored by Mads Heldtberg and nicely acted, not only by Sharni Vinson but also by Barbara Crampton, Ti West, Amy Seimetz, A.J. Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Nicholas Tucci and Rob Moran, regardless of how much or little screen time they’re given. At its best, You’re Next is a darkly comic, hair-raising, twisted crowd-pleaser.