Adam Wingard

‘The Guest’ is an absolute blast of genre-blending cinema

As soon as the title card interrupts an otherwise calm beginning, it’s clear that this film is going to be absolutely bonkers. More importantly, it’s going to be so much fun to watch. It delivers on that first impression and more, never letting up in its sense of genre-bending glee and always doubling down on its extremes while maintaining a level head aesthetic tension. This is a film that puts a wicked grin on the audience, similar to the wicked grin its mysterious central character sports.

Fantasia Film Festival 2013: ‘You’re Next’ is as terrifying as a house full of booby traps

Filmmaking functions heavily in accordance with associations. When things go well on projects certain cliques form. For example, in comedy there is the Apatow gang, featuring writer-director Judd Apatow and such actors as Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd just to name a few. In the American independent horror film genre, there is the group comprised of writer-director Adam Wingard, writer-director-actor Joe Swanberg, actors A.J. Bowen, Amy Seimetz as well as arguably the most notable name of the bunch, writer-director-actor Ti West. Fans are in luck because the entire gang is back with the home invasion film You’re Next, the wait for which has been mind-numbingly long since it’s premier at TIFF…in 2011.

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Tribeca 2013: ‘V/H/S 2’ has a few new ideas, and a few massive wastes of time

Like its predecessor, V/H/S 2 is shaped around a framing story. This time, the framing story involves two private investigators searching for a missing person. Turns out this particular missing person liked to collect videotapes which depict weird supernatural occurrences. The private eyes decide to watch some of his tapes, which are the four short stories at the film’s core. That framing story is a problem: it’s so boring and un-scary that at first it seems the entire movie may turn out to be a waste of time. It might have been better just to have five short horror tales, presented without the pretense of being part of a larger conspiracy, because having to end the film on the conclusion of the framing tale just isn’t worth it.

‘You’re Next’ impales, smashes, and gouges

As setups go, You’re Next has a great one. The crazed lunatic’s target is a family reunion, featuring a recently retired couple, their four adult but painfully immature children, and said children’s painfully awkward significant others. Given that the family could have been cut from a J.Crew catalogue (or culled from a therapist’s waiting room), the situation is horrific without a murdering lunatic present.

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