A Horrible Way To Die director Adam Wingard adds more ways to his list with his newest feature, which although does nothing to reinvent the wheel in terms of horror movies it does have enough going on to cement it as one of the better slashers in recent memory.
Retreating to a stately home in the secluded countryside to celebrate their parents’ anniversary, an entire family is soon trapped inside by masked murderers, who begin picking off the clan for reasons unknown.
It’s a tried and tested setup, made all the more effective by the fact that the film isn’t trying to be anything new, but instead just does what it sets out to do very well. It’s refreshing, or perhaps a little disheartening depending on which way you look at it, that a film that uses age old tropes so well is regarded as a breath of fresh air amongst stale remakes and ever more outlandish sequels. It’s not original in any sense of the word, but is injected with just the right amount of dark humour and effective scares that it can hold its own with the likes of that other lauded subversive horror movie, Scream (and to a lesser extent Scream 2).
However the film is really feels most like would be Halloween, and not just down to the very John Carpenter sounding score (which is ace by the way); with the final girl becoming the hero, although in another neat reversal it’s revealed that the helpless girl of old is actually a survival expert here. The film is knowing enough to play with your expectations, but clever enough to know when to deliver on them as well; let’s just say when people walk off on their own you can be pretty sure they’re not coming back.
The performances, especially from lead actress Sharni Vinson, are fine despite most of the cast being cannon fodder for the inevitable carnage which is pleasingly grisly but never over the top, and the villains of the piece are made ever more creepy due to the expressionless masks and brutal nature.
Nothing original but does what it should very well indeed.
Review by Jonathan Cardwell.
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