Directed by: Adam Wingard
OK, let’s be up front here, we’re really not a fan of the psycho Killers stalking random people and then butchering them in brutally exotic ways. Too much splatter-punk porn for us. Our dislike of this particular genre is that it relies too much on formulistic rituals and not enough on story you know the trope by heart, some poor misunderstood soul who seeks revenge on some real or imagined wrong by killing everyone who blah, blah, blah…personally we’re already checking our watch to see how much time out of our life that we are going to lose over this new piece of cinematic tripe. You’re next isn’t quit that.
No, it offers up (what we believe) is something of a different spin on the events of the crazed killer stalking a family “trapped” in their remote home for a weekend gathering. The film starts out with a couple (an older man and his younger paramour), doing the nasty in his place. He is working it mightily to get off, and she is composing a grocery list in her head. Once done, she (only partially dressed) goes downstairs to put on some music and pour herself a drink, while he goes to take a shower. Don’t get too attached to them, they are just the set-up kill and are very quickly dispatched. The real action is still yet to come.
Enter Paul (Rob Moran) and Aubrey (Crampton) Davison, a husband and wife who are headed out to their secluded mansion for a long-put off family gathering with their daughter and three sons. Paul made his millions in the defense industry (in marketing, so don’t hate him too much), and their nicely-appointed house demonstrates that. As their children each arrive, we come to understand that it has been a while since they were all gathered together in the same place for an extended period of time, and as they begin to interact over dinner we get to see why. There is apparently small love lost between the siblings as the thinly-veiled, passive-aggressive judgmental bickering starts over dinner.
Needless to say, that lively reunion is abruptly brought to an end when Tariq (Ti West) — daughter Aimee’s (Amy Seimetz) filmmaker boyfriend catches a crossbow quarrel in the forehead. Now we are off to the races as a mysterious gang of killers wearing animal masks wage an all-out assault on the Davison’s secluded home, using axes, crossbows and machetes, the family are slaughtered one by one until nowhere is safe. But neither the attackers, nor their victims, have counted on Erin (Vinson); the seemingly innocent girlfriend of son Crispian (Bowen) who — unbeknownst to anyone — grew up in the Australian Outback as the daughter of a survivalist father, and has the killer instinct to fight back.
It is her performance (and role) — as well as the afore-mentioned twist — that elevates this film above the level of psycho-stalker, and makes it actually worth watching.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.