YOU’RE NEXT line to cuddle a baby kitten! Yay!

WELL, WELL, WELL, what do you know... there's a damn fine horror film out right now. Trust me, I'm as shocked as you are. You're Next is a funny, smart, and bloody, and even if we're all a little sick of mysterious house invaders wearing whimsical masks (waves at The Strangers!), this tight little film takes scary-movie conventions and turns 'em upside down. And amazing things are done with a blender.

The well-heeled Paul and Aubrey Davison are readying their isolated country estate to celebrate their 35th anniversary. One by one, their grown kids start arriving with their boyfriends and girlfriends and wives for the family reunion. Sure, the nervous Aubrey (Re-Animator's Barbara Crampton! EEEEEE!) hears funny noises in the big old house, but it's not until the anniversary dinner that the wetworks begin—when an arrow comes careening through the dining room window. A brutal group of killers, sporting military-grade gear and adorable woodland-creature masks, starts picking off the family in gruesome fashion with crossbows and axes. Up until that point, it's all pretty standard for the genre—until one of those aforementioned girlfriends, Erin (Sharni Vinson), takes control. In a shiny little twist, Erin's way more than she appears—as in, she's a total fucking badass.

What makes You're Next work so well isn't just its strong female lead, but director Adam Wingard's sly mix of black humor and give-the-people-what-they-want gore. It's simple and effective, and there's a bonanza of nice touches—like the repeating musical setpiece of a cover of Dwight Twilley Band's "Looking for the Magic," and cameos from directors Ti West (The House of the Devil) and Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies). You're Next has a lot to offer... and is good, smart, old-fashioned horror.