Reel Critics: 'Next' is bloody, clever and gruesome

Put several members of a wealthy family in the big house on dad's isolated estate. Place mysterious killers in animal masks in the dark woods outside. Add several machetes, axes, crossbows and knives. Sprinkle in a little sick humor as the bloody carnage begins and you have the familiar recipe for "You're Next."

There have been many gory/funny parodies of slasher movies over the years. This one is long on violence and short on laughs. Director Adam Wingard presents a gruesome variation of the "Ten Little Indians" formula as members of the household are knocked off one by one. Blood splatter flies everywhere as each killing gets more brutal than the previous one.

Eventually, a plausible murder mystery develops within the confines of the predictable home invasion plot. The tale turns interesting when a seeming victim unravels the mystery and the hunters become the hunted. Petite Australian actress Sharni Vinson plays the vengeful heroine who proves to be a real match for the masked intruders. But see this only if your tolerance for blood is very high indeed.


Last call for alcohol

In the grandly goofy "The World's End," five blokes reunite for an epic 12-pub crawl they attempted back in high school.

For Gary King (Simon Pegg), that ale-soaked night had been the best of his now-pathetic life. Getting the guys together takes a lot of convincing (and cash) but eventually they pile into Gary's old car and head off for their quaint hometown.

With each pint, they reminisce about the good ol' days and try to convince themselves they're not stuck in a rut.

This starts to feel like five guys caught in a boring midlife crisis. Yet as they make their beleaguered way to that last bar, aptly named The World's End, the guys get an unexpected shot at renewed friendship and redemption in the midst of epic brawls.

Pegg and director Edgar Wright co-wrote this film (as well as the earlier "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz") and again treat us to comedy laced with the supernatural. It's "Armageddon" meets "Stepford Wives" and it's great fun.

Pegg and Nick Frost re-team as the odd couple of physical and verbal comedy. Also memorable are Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan as their partners in booze-soaked giggles.

"The World's End" would be a perfect double feature with this summer's "This Is The End," another crazy comedy about the end of civilization as we know it. Which one is funnier? Pour yourself a cold one and see.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World