In the immortal words of Scream all horror movies are the same; “Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It’s insulting”. Since Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson released Ghost Face on the world horror films have had to change tact. You can’t conform to the clichéd genre troupes anymore you have to get inventive. Just ask the residence of The Cabin In The Woods.
Approaching You’re Next as ‘just another horror movie’ is a mistake and one that will happily lead you up the garden path before decapitating you with a menacing grin on its face. It starts as any good slasher film should; with a couple going at it, a dull look in the girl’s eyes, before all hell breaks loose. Before you know it we’re invited to a family reunion in a leafy part of nowhere. Said dysfunctional family are the Davisons, including Crispian (AJ Bowen), his unusually pragmatic girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson), antagonistic elder brother Drake (Joe Swanberg) and sullen younger brother Felix (Nicholas Tucci). During dinner the family find themselves under attack from a group of masked killers who seem to be intent on wiping the Davisons out.
You’re Next’s slow-burn start is a calculated piece of writing that allows us to get to know each member of the Davison family. For the most part it’s often hard to like all of them but as such they’re believable characters that you get to pick and choose who you’d like to live and who you’d like to get chopped into tiny little pieces.
And then You’re Next goes down the typical horror route, people do run out of the front door but then others go upstairs, the killers seem inept at what they’re doing and for a long time you’re left wondering not who is Next but why they bothered. Many of the kills are well executed, Adam Wingard’s shaky direction smoothing out to build a sinister tension before coating the walls in blood, but you cannot help feel it’s all a little over the top and comical.
Fear not though, while at first this seems unintentionally comical, it is all part of the ruse. By toying with your expectations of the genre Wingard and writer Simon Barret stay one step ahead. They, like the characters on offer, are carefully laying Home Alone style traps for you to walk into that leave you both hiding behind a cushion before reeling with laughter at the dry one-liners that follow up the blood-letting. By the time it is revealed that one character grew-up on a ‘Survival Camp’ you’re firmly in on the joke and able to enjoy this bonkers thrill ride for the obvious outlandish pastiche that it is.
Crazy and inventive while never allowing itself to become insulting to horror fans, You’re Next will have you reeling and screaming in equal measure.