Saturday, September 6, 2014
A Home Invasion Goes Awry in You're Next (2013)
As horror and thriller subgenres go, home invasion movies probably have the most difficult time telling unique and memorable tales--after all, what other subgenre has a title that gives away its plots? With such a built-in drawback, writers and directors of home invasion movies have to provide something more original, more intense and/or more shocking than average home invasion fare. Thankfully, You're Next, a 2013 thriller directed by Adam Wingard, meets the challenge with Grand Guignol-esque gusto.
You're Next tells the story of four adult children (and their significant others) who visit their parents' remote estate for a weekend family reunion. As they sit down for their first meal, they are viciously attacked by a group of assailants wearing animal masks and brandishing a selection of deadly weapons. However, as the surviving family members frantically plan to protect themselves against the sudden onslaught, the line between attacker and victim becomes blurred in ways that no one expects.
You're Next masterfully assembles the dysfunctional family movie with the narrative conventions of slasher and home invasion films to deliver an efficient and effective mix of brutal horror and pitch-black comedy. Even the end credits are morbidly funny. The humor isn't as self-referential as Scream or as gonzo as The Cabin in the Woods or Bad Kids Go to Hell but if you have an appreciation of gallows humor, you'll be sure to pick up the sick, twisted punchlines mixed in with the scares and shocks.
Honestly, I was amazed to see how Wingard keeps the story balanced enough to provide a consistent flow of humor and horror from beginning to end. The cast (which includes horror movie vets Barbara Crampton and Ti West) also delivers on their end; in particular, Sharni Vinson provides a strong turn as Erin, one of the significant others at the reunion who has the most interesting secrets to keep.