Bryan Bertino’s debut looked pretty generic upon arrival, even by the standards of genre fare: another faux-authentic urban legend . . . about a good-looking couple being stalked by a gang of killers. And that’s really all that happens. Except that it’s also expertly staged, impressively ruthless, and—at least for me—really about _something_, even if that something ends up being the chilling nothing-in-particular alluded to by the masked murderess to her victim.
Knowing what’s coming doesn’t dispel the tension of the moment, it just makes the dread more intense. I can’t argue with people who think this is fun or bracing, the cinematic equivalent of downing sweat-inducing peppers or cannonballing into a cold body of water, but I was strung out, dispirited and utterly drained by the time it was over.