Is it just me, or did I just see the best horror-comedy of the year? I was familiar with Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s wonderful work on VHS and The ABC’s of Death, so I had fairly high expectations for this. They have delivered a wonderfully fun take on the slasher genre, and I sincerely hope more people see it.
The plot is simple. A dysfunctional family gathers for their parent’s 35th wedding anniversary. Pretty soon though, armed men with animal masks begin killing them off one by one. Except it turns out one character, Erin, is very good at fighting back.
Many will criticize the film for attempting to be a deconstruction/parody of the slasher genre, and then failing at that attempt. I don’t view the film that way. I don’t think it ever tried to deconstruct it’s genre, it knew the stereotypes, and just had a lot of fun playing with them. I view it as just a really fun take on the slasher genre, filled to the brim with inventive and gory deaths. Perhaps you have to have a sick sense of humor to enjoy this, as the film has a very bleak sense of humor running throughout it that can be hard to recognize. But if you do recognize that you’re supposed to laugh, you’re going to have a great time. Also, am I the only one that found some humor that the killers took the time to make sure they spelled “You’re” correctly with their victim’s blood?
With that look on it, the performances are rather enjoyable. It was great to see horror filmmakers Larry Fessenden and Ti West have brief, but memorable roles. Joe Swanberg is convincing as the self-righteous eldest brother of the family. Nicholas Tucci is a lot of fun to watch as you find out how unstable his character of Felix is. Sharni Vinson does a great job of embodying how bad-ass her character of Erin is, and Erin’s got my vote to go down in history as one of the most bad-ass horror characters.
I also want to give a shout-out to the score, which was wonderfully evocative of Slasher classics like Friday the 13th.
Over all, I had a wonderful time watching this, laughing harder at the insane gore than I have at most comedies this year. For fans of the slasher genre, this should serve as a rather fun and inventive take on the genre.