Sharni Vinson, armed and ready, in “You’re Next.”Corey Ransberg/Lionsgate
‘You’re Next’ and ‘The Strangers’
Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, “You’re Next” is a gory, relentless, fat-free fusion of the home-invasion thriller and the slasher movie — the story of six couples who gather in a rural vacation home and are attacked by intruders wearing animal masks. The director Adam Wingard, whose “Godzilla vs. Kong” comes to HBO Max in late March, assembles a who’s who of indie filmmakers to appear in front of the camera (including Larry Fessenden, Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg and Ti West), which might account for the funny, seemingly improvised banter that takes place between kills.
There’s not much down time once the house is under siege, just a desperate struggle to fend off the perpetrators and a mystery over who’s behind it. “You’re Next” features one of the best examples of a shouting-at-the-screen, “don’t go running up the stairs” moment in horror movie history. But with an ensemble cast of about a dozen potential victims, one gloriously stupid death is easily afforded.
Three years earlier, “The Strangers” also featured a backwoods home under threat from masked intruders, but the director Bryan Bertino had a much different approach, putting off bloody confrontation in favor of an agonizing, atmospheric slow burn. The premise is simplicity itself, about a couple (played by Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler) who crash at a secluded retreat after a friend’s wedding, still tense from a fight over a rejected marriage proposal. Their fraught relationship makes them especially vulnerable to attackers, who take their sweet time in tormenting them, often slipping into the dark corners of Bertino’s exquisitely composed frames. SCOTT TOBIAS
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