Hammy horror not on our Next list
The family that stays together is slain together in Adam Wingard’s gruesome horror about a home invasion that turns violent at frightening speed.
Penned by Simon Barrett, You’re Next slathers on the entrails at the expense of characterisation and common sense to ensure almost every character is destined for the mortuary slab before the 95 minutes are up.
Admittedly, the script accomplishes one neat twist to create a modicum of dramatic tension for the film’s grisly closing moments. However, director Wingard’s insistence on lingering on furtive glances between certain protagonists almost gives the game away and there’s a paucity of scares, even cheap ones, to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
From the moment heavily medicated wife Aubrey Davison (Barbara Crampton) stares out of her car window and remarks, “We’re so isolated up here” to her husband Paul (Rob Moran), the omens are bad.
The Davisons have decided to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary by driving to a remote mansion, where they will be reunited with their four grown-up children. Their son Crispian (AJ Bowen) and his plucky Australian girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) arrive first.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve all been together so it should be... interesting,” Crispian reveals cryptically.
His brother Drake (Joe Swanberg) and snobbish partner Kelly (Margaret Laney) arrive the following morning, followed by sister Aimee (Amy Seimetz) and her filmmaker beau, Tariq (Ti West). Felix (Nicholas Tucci), the black sheep of the children, arrives last with his moody girlfriend Zee (Wendy Glenn).
Rivalry between Crispian and Drake catalyses a full-blown argument over the dinner table. The heated altercation is cut short when one of the revellers is killed with a crossbow bolt to the noggin.
The remaining members of the feuding clan discover that three maniacs wearing animal masks have infiltrated the house, armed with an axe and machete. As the body count rises, the distraught revellers search for a means of escape from the bloodbath.
You’re Next opens with two disposal characters having sex then meeting a grisly end, which abides by the hoary tropes of the genre. Barrett’s script doesn’t stray too far from convention, providing minimal back stories for protagonists who are marked for death first.
Wingard’s horror quickly becomes hammy. When one of the aggressors begs their other half to engage in sex on a bed stained with the blood of one victim, the unintentional giggles begin. Titters escalate into snorts of derision as one partygoer drops a bombshell and is transformed into an expertly trained killing machine, stopping one attacker in his tracks with a handy kitchen appliance.
Bones grind, flesh jettisons through the air - and we couldn’t care less.
You’re next (18, 95 mins)
Horror/Thriller/Action. Sharni Vinson, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Nicholas Tucci, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton, Margaret Laney, Ti West, Wendy Glenn. Director: Adam Wingard.