Everybody likes to be pleasantly surprised. And these days, with the horror genre, it’s especially enjoyable. That sounds weird, to be really happy when a movie that involves bloody gruesome deaths is involved. Well, weird for those that don’t like horror movies, anyway. The rest of us just squee for joy at a film that offers us something unique or worthwhile.
Everybody likes to be pleasantly surprised. And these days, with the horror genre, it’s especially enjoyable. That sounds weird, to be really happy when a movie that involves bloody gruesome deaths is involved. Well, weird for those that don’t like horror movies, anyway. The rest of us just squee for joy at a film that offers us something unique or worthwhile. And I’ll tell you, when I saw the trailers for You’re Next, I thought very little of it. They didn’t exactly give the impression that there would be anything that would simply make this stand out from any other run of the mill slasher flick. But Chris said we wanted a review of it because supposedly it was one of those self aware horror films. So, I figured, “why not?”
And what a surprise! You’re Next is really fun! Granted, it isn’t the most original plot: a family gets together for their parents anniversary in their house and suddenly unknown assailants start killing them off one by one. Sure, we’ve seen it before, but what is different is the darkly comic tone.
It’s the parents and their siblings- three sons and a daughter. Each of them has a significant other with them. Five couples in all. It’s clear that that are all fairly different and at the dinner table, the inevitable arguing ensues between two of the brothers. As the table erupts in group bickering, they are oblivious as someone in their group is struck by an arrow. Almost one by one they notice as the body drops to the floor. Mayhem breaks out, arrows flying through windows.
At one point, as they decide it’s best that someone tries to make a run for a car and get help, the siblings actually argue who is the fastest or in whom the family puts the most faith to do something right. And as I’m laughing at their family dysfunction, the scene builds and then plays out in a way I didn’t expect. There is a deftness to the balance and shift of funny to horrifying. You can be LOLing one second and cringing the next.
And that works well to diffusing the gore, of which there is a decent amount. Mostly slicing and cleaving – and blood! Have I seen gorier? Sure, but this satisfies the tastes of the genre fan thoroughly. With all the humor and fun, you’re liable to enjoy this. There definitely is a sense that this film is self-aware. It’s good to see some people having fun with a genre that is often so stale. Writer Simon Barrett has crafted an entertaining script and director Adam Wingard keeps things interesting throughout. Even when something happens you expect – which occurs once or twice – they set you up for something you DIDN’T expect.
The cast is mostly little known people with one or two exceptions. The legendary Barbara Crampton plays the mother in this and she’s been in great films like The Re-Animator and From Beyond. A brief appearance by Larry Fessenden, Ti West, and mostly a lot of people that have been on TV shows here and there. This is all to the benefit of the film as you don’t keep thinking, “oh I know that guy” all the time. And everyone is great. The characters aren’t written with much depth, but they are all just unpleasant enough to add another layer of fun to their demises.
You’re Next is really smartly written and cast. If they hadn’t taken the darkly comic approach and been as self aware, then this would have fallen flat and just been another boring pick’em off one by one slasher film. But they get my kudos and I may even pick this up on DVD/Bluray when it’s available. Definitely a solid three and a half kittenhands, maybe four. It’s good bloody fun!
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, quite certain this film wins the award for best use of a blender.