You’re Next (2013)

You’re Next (2013)

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Obligatory heroic pose shot.
Obligatory heroic pose shot.

Twitter Plot Summary: A family reunion takes a turn for the horrific when a gang of killers descend on the house. But there’s a twist…

Genre: Comedy/Horror/Thriller

Director: Adam Wingard

Key Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, LC Holt, Simon Barrett, Lane Hughes

Five Point Summary:

1. Seems like a nice family. Shame we don’t really get to know any of them…
2. That house is simultaneously a maze and the least secure place I have ever seen.
3. One woman army. Brap brap.
4. Ooh, a twist!
5. Rule #1 of scriptwriting comes into play again. Completely subverting your expectation.

As a side note before I get into the review-proper, this is probably the fastest I’ve put together a review after I’ve seen a film at the cinema – I’ve been home less than an hour and the review’s done. Sign of either a good or a bad film that. On a similar note, I should apologise if this review is worse than my usual fare, it was written in a bit of a hurry…

You’re Next. It’s a delightfully inviting title for a film. That or an indication that they used that as a temporary name for the film when making it and couldn’t come up with anything better before release. However you look at it, the film deserves your time and attention, which is why I’m getting my review in as quickly as possible.

The setup: a family of four kids – three brothers and a sister, each with an other half in tow – unite with their parents at the isolated mansion-esque home that their father is in the process of fixer-uppering. As they all get together for dinner, the house is attacked by a strange group all wearing animal masks. A few crossbow bolts fired into the room is enough to instill panic, and this ensues for pretty much the rest of the film. Inevitably characters are whittled away in a variety of inventive methods, but then there’s a sting in the tail – it turns out Erin, girlfriend of beardy Kevin Smith-a-like Crispian (the ultimate combination of crisps and a particular brand of bottled water) – is a dab hand at survival techniques and killing peeps.

Just for once, the trailer didn’t give away 99% of the story. The use of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day perfectly sets up the film and the situation without going into spoiler territory. In fact, the only complaint I can throw at it is that Perfect Day isn’t in the film itself. Sorry, spoilers. It’s about as perfect a trailer you’re going to get these days, so check it out at the end of this review, it’s worth your time before you head off and see the film in full. If the trailer intrigues you then you’ll probably enjoy the full movie a lot.

They hadn't been told that the fancy dress was cancelled.
They hadn’t been told that the fancy dress was cancelled.

As this is a horror movie characters inevitably make decisions that don’t make any sense at all in the grand scheme of things. It gets gradually more silly, knowingly so, as the story moves forward, and for that I applaud it. Vociferously. Yes, I sometimes use big words, I’m sorry. Some of the best modern horror movies are those that have gone out of their way to subvert your expectations. Earlier this year I watched Mama and Evil Dead at the cinema, which didn’t so much subvert expectations as fully embrace them, Evil Dead in particular. You’re Next does subvert your expectations at certain points, but then it also revels in doing exactly what you’re expecting it to.

I only have one gripe and that’s the whole issue with the neighbours. Spoilers ahead, conveniently hidden for your benefit, because I’m nice like that.

[spoiler title=”Spoilers Ahoy!” open=”0″ style=”1″]So why did the killers bump off the neighbour and his probably too young bit on the side?  I know their home is a bit close to the action, but their deaths seem a tad unnecessary. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was explained within the film, instead it’s just ignored and pushed quietly to one side. While we’re in the spoiler tags, I found the whole “Why won’t you die?!” spiel quite funny, if a bit of a tonal shift at that point in the film. Given how silly things get after that, it kind of makes sense in hindsight.[/spoiler]

Amongst the violence there are some genuinely funny moments too, more of them if you’re twisted like me and find the violence amusing. I think some of it was supposed to be funny anyway, so that elevated it for me. The incredibly shaky handheld camerawork threatens to derail proceedings on occasion, but it settles down before it becomes irritating. I also really liked the soundtrack – you know things are getting serious when the score goes all 80s on us. For those of us who enjoy horror films, get along to your local Cineplex and check this out, it’s worth the price of entry.

Favourite scene: The inventive use of a photo camera in a dark room.

Quote: “This wasn’t a random attack! Our family’s being targeted!”

Silly Moment: Running towards the door and… oh my.

Score: 4/5

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