Thu August 22, 2013
A bloody and comical homage to slasher films.
Director: Adam Wingard (Pop Skull)
Screenplay: Simon Barrett (A Horrible Way to Die)
Cast: Shami Vinson (Step Up 3D), Nicolas Tucci (Undocumented)
Runtime: 96 min.
by John DeSando
“I wanna meet your family.” Erin (Sharni Vinson)
Rethink that, Erin, if you value your life. However If you want scares and laughs in a witty slasher movie, bypass the traditionally scary Conjuring this summer and stop at the modern but also old-fashioned horror flick, You’re Next. It’s about home invasion, a send up of Straw Dogs and countless other thrillers where revenge’s success is measured by body count and gallons of blood, but not always intelligence. Think Home Alone on steroids with some real baddies.
A large family convenes at Dad and Mom’s estate to celebrate their parents’ 30th anniversary. Two of the brothers fiercely argue by the time they sit down for dinner, preparing us for the more obnoxious ones not to last the entire film. Quickly a quiet and efficient crossbow is shot from the outside, piercing a family member and any peace they thought the reunion would bring.
You’re Next deftly navigates between the gory and the funny as director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett riff on the humor of such classics as Wes Craven’s Scream and the daddy of them all, Halloween. For example, when Drake (Joe Swanberg) says at mealtime, “Thanks to mum and dad for bringing us here together,” no arrow would have to fly for the hardcore horror fan to know that statement is already ironic.
The ancillary joy besides the humor and the mayhem is to see one of the women emerge a hero, a place in the old days reserved almost solely for males. She represents the new breed of bloody victim who can defend herself to the great pleasure and approbation of the audience.
The intelligence of You’re Next comes from, besides the humor, learning, through distributed exposition the answer to Drake’s question, “Why would anybody do this?”
On a higher level, of course, grad students could deconstruct the familial aggression as representative of societal malaise. Let them go at it. For me, I’ll just relax and enjoy the thrills, looking safely from behind my “window,” the movie screen.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com