5 Things I Liked (& Didn’t) About : You’re Next29.08.13 # Review # 3 Comments
It’s odd to think that You’re Next probably has more in common with Home Alone than it does with many of its own slasher contemporaries, but Adam Wingard’s tale of home invaders messing with the wrong victim can’t help but recall Kevin McCalister turning the tables on his intruders. It’s just a shame that John Hughes didn’t hand anyone a crossbow.
It’s also a shame that You’re Next has taken so damn long to get here; the film got a lot of people talking at the Toronto International Film Festival a couple of years back but has been slow to getting a wide release.
In case it’s still not ringing any bells, the story centres on a family reunion set against the backdrop of a remote country home. Crispian Davison (A.J. Bowen) takes his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) to meet the parents and siblings but before many new bonds are formed the house comes under siege by invaders with a penchant for animal masks and a thirst for blood. This family is less dysfunction and mostly non-functional come the eleventh hour.
(1) The first thing to say is that You’re Next is bloody funny. When events pick up, Wingard dishes up enough dark laughs and plenty of genre ribbing to keep things alive. If The Cabin in the Woods was a love letter to the school of horror, You’re Next is a picture of something phallic scrawled on a note and passed around the back of class. That’s no bad thing.
(2) Slasher fans looking for their fix will find gore aplenty in Wingard’s bloodbath. Cheese wire, a machete and a screwdriver are just some of the instruments that You’re Next lifts from its toolbox of terror, and the executions are brutal and brilliant.
(3) It isn’t always easy to maintain tension when you’re killing for laughs, but You’re Next manages to keep ratcheting up the suspense and shrieking violins as the deaths get increasingly ridiculous.
(4) Someone gets killed with a meat tenderiser; someone else says “I want you to fuck me in be next to your dead mum”. Nuff said.
(5) Erin makes for one superb modern horror heroine. You’re Next asks: “What if one would-be victim was secretly a survival expert?” Erin answers with a knife to the gut, outsmarting and outslashing our unwelcome guests with attitude. You’ll find yourself cheering for her to make it out alive regardless of everyone else’s fate. Which brings me to the next point…
(1) Everyone else is kind of annoying. As the invaders pick off the helpless family members one by one, you’re only eager to see by which hilarious means they meet their fate, rather than feel sorry to see them go.
(2) The tongue takes a while to find the cheek, with the prologue and first act set up as almost too serious ahead of what’s to come. When things turn sour – and funny – it makes you wonder whether the comedy and horror blend as well one unlucky victim’s head.
(3) If the acting is purposefully uneven, it’s not obvious enough. With better performances and a sharper script then this could really be a cut above what it is.
(4) You also can’t help but feel that You’re Next occasionally becomes victim to the cliches it’s poking at – and that’s a real shame at times.
(5) The twist. No spoilers here, but when the knife-twist moment comes you’ll convince yourself you saw it a mile off. And you probably did. Despite this, the film ends in perhaps the only way it can – total nihilistic nonsense.
You’re Next serves up something a little fresher than the norm and deserves plenty of love for it. Think The Cabin in the Woods but less supernatural and more blood-stained; The Strangers with a sense of humour. It’s not cutting into new ground but it does butcher the genre enough to have some real fun along the way.
One thing’s for certain – you’ll never be able to listen to the Dwight Twilley Band’s Looking for the Magic again without an unnerving twinge of fear.