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Now this is what I’m talking about. A film that is suspenseful, humorous and incredibly entertaining, You’re Next is one of the best horror films in recent memory. Its premise may be familiar to most viewers, but writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard subvert viewer expectations to create a horror film that feels entirely unpredictable and surprisingly fresh.

A wealthy couple invite their four children and their significant others to an isolated vacation home in order to celebrate the couple’s wedding anniversary. The proceedings get off to a rocky start when an argument breaks out at dinner, but soon the guests realize that there is a more pressing matter at hand: masked men are waiting outside the house, hoping to kill everyone inside. The family must band together in order to stop the murderers from picking off everybody one by one.

Sure, the first twenty minutes of the film feel like something we’ve seen dozens of times, but there is no stopping the film once the action kicks into high gear. Wingard does a fine job of creating tension within his scenes and there are a number of very effective jump scares. A few of the jump scares feel cheap, but they are executed so well that they continue to add to the fun.

Screenwriter Simon Barrett deserves praise for crafting a unique and unpredictable script from an otherwise overused and tired premise. It would have been easy for him to phone it in and call it a day’s work, but he instead chooses to create a sharp witted script that balances out its scares with fantastic black humor. Most horror films that try to double as comedies end up becoming too goofy, but all of the humor in You’re Next is incredibly subtle, never distracting from the horrors at hand.

If there is a major problem in the film, it lies in the acting department. Most of the actors are mediocre at best, with many of them getting killed off before they are able to flesh out their characters. The one standout in the cast is Sharni Vinson as Erin. A character who at first glance appears to be just an ordinary girl, Vinson successfully turns Erin into a believable female warrior. Many horror movies feature a female lead, but few are as strong as Erin is in this film.

The film’s charm may be lost on general moviegoers, but this is destined to become a cult classic among horror fans. Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett know the horror genre well enough that they are able to toy with our expectations, taking the story to some very unpredictable places. Blending the perfect amount of horror and humor, You’re Next is one of the most entertaining horror films to come along in ages. It’s one hell of a ride.

You’re Next receives 3.5/4 

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