2011's You're Next is a much welcomed joy, a surprising twist on the by-the-numbers horror formula that delivers shocks and screams with excellent efficiency. The film revolves around the estranged Davison family, who are gathering together in a rural mansion getaway in an attempt to heal the fractures between them. Of course, this is to little success, with arguments soon following and as the tension reaches boiling point, chaos is truly unleashed with deadlier ramifications.
Much of the film could perhaps best be described as Saw meets The Purge, though that would be doing something of a disservice to director Adam Wingard's creation considering the unoriginality of the latter. The subtle opening heightens the ensuing chaos and brutal gore brilliantly, with the deadly invasion dwarfing the family arguments of before. Strong performances from all mean that every fresh bloodshed holds impact and emphasises the visible destruction of the family.
However, just as it looks like the film is settling in to the standard slaughter fest mold, Wingard flips the film on its head and reveals a wholly unseen side to a number of the characters. This twist is so well sprung on the viewer and simply unpredictable that it offers a whole aspect of the film and allows it to swerve between genres with much greater ease.
The few flaws in You're Next are somewhat apparent throughout the initial scenes but as the pace picks up, these problems are cast aside and become quickly irrelevant. Characters based largely around stereotypes (the moody one, the angry one etc.) and some largely uninspired camera-work is soon resolved by the film's twist and increasingly well carried out sequences.
You're Next's greatest achievement is to maintain the sickening feeling of paranoia and looming threat even as the action builds and bloodshed comes thick and fast. Enough originality to fill several sequels and consistently brutal execution (both literally and in terms of Wingard's direction) keeps You're Next fresh and engrossing to the very (bloody) end.