August 2013 has turned out to be a cracking month for horror movies, with the five-star ‘The Conjuring’ revitalising the ‘Exorcist / Amityville’ formula, and now ‘You’re Next’ takes an axe to the ‘Straw Dogs’ home invasion set-up with exhilarating results.

Crispian (AJ Bowen) and his Australian girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) meet up with his rich family at their remote country home. Crispian’s two brothers and one sister have all brought significant others, meaning there’s a total of ten adults in the house about to be terrorised by a murderous gang of crossbow-shooting, machete-wielding maniacs wearing disturbing animal masks. Unfortunately for the killers, they had no idea Erin possesses years of survivalist skills, and has a no-nonsense ruthless streak…

‘You’re Next’ reminded me of ‘Halloween’ and ‘Scream’, with the lead female being stalked by a relentless enemy, but where Jamie Lee Curtis screamed her way out of danger, Sharni Vinson is a very modern, take-no-prisoners action heroine in the mould of ‘Aliens’ Ripley. She sets traps, she’s fast and brutal in a fight, and while all around her deliberate and plan, she attacks. Apparently the director Adam Wingard had failed to find his ‘Erin’ until Vinson’s audition, where she stated she’d always wanted to be a stuntwoman as well as an actress. Vinson gets a cracking beating here!

Of the other cast members, everyone gets at least one highlight, with Joe Swanberg getting most of the laughs (dark laughs) and Nicholas Tucci suffers the movie’s most memorable moment.

‘You’re Next’ employs a nice sense of foreshadowing more than once, so all the while you’re enjoying the action and tension, there’s that nagging feeling in the back of your head about those nails or a precariously-balanced axe. A crossbow is made to feel like the most dangerous weapon I’ve seen in the cinema for some years,

‘You’re Next’ is very scary, very brutal (and realistic, when someone gets hit, they stay down), and makes time for some black comic moments. You’ll get a genuine crowd-pleasing buzz as Erin refuses to be defeated. You should definitely expect ‘You’re Next’ to join the new crop of horror ‘franchises’ that include ‘The Conjuring’, ‘VHS’, ‘Insidious’, and ‘Sinister’.

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