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youre_next_1_20130307_1024062482Nothing ruins a family reunion like an invasion of masked killers.

On the occasion of their parents 35th wedding anniversary the Davidson kids and assorted wives, girl and boy friends gather at a remote Tudor mansion—is there any other type in these kinds of movies?—to enjoy dinner and one another, but instead end up in a fight for their lives. Only one of the guests, Erin (Sharni Vinson), has the know-how to protect herself, but will it be enough?

It’s hard to discuss “You’re Next,” which had its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness program, without giving away a major plot twist, but I will say there is a Manson Family aspect to the story that really creeped me out. That plus the anxiety-inducing John Carpenter style score throbbing in the background and the “moist” sound effects accompanying the wet work. It’s all effective but it is the idea behind the movie that is truly disturbing.

There is a rawness to the filmmaking—and let’s just say that there are no future Meryl Streeps in the cast—that although there is very little actual gore, is

The motive for the killing is nothing new (no spoilers here though) but the ruthless efficiency with which the killing is done is chilling. Morals or feelings need not apply. So even though there isn’t a lot of blood—it is most implied—the film still packs a grisly punch.

There is a lesson in survivalism on screen to be sure—stock up on nails and twine!—but keeping in mind how it works out for everyone I think I’ll stick to calling 911.

Lessons aside, I did like that while there are a number of hysterical characters—who wouldn’t be upset when your friends and family are being randomly murdered?—the hero, if you can use that word to describe someone who kills a person with a blender, is a woman. So often in these movies women are the scream queens while the men do the heavy lifting. In “You’re Next” the only person with any self-preservation instincts is female.

I don’t know what it says about my mental make-up, but I really liked “You’re Next.” It’s disturbing, violent and without any redeeming social value, but I enjoyed sitting in the theatre with my hands over my eyes, afraid of what I might see next. I’m not usually a fan of head trauma, but from what I saw as I peeked through my fingers, it works well.

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