After releasing 2010’s okay but unspectacular A Horrible Way To Die and the ‘Tape 56’ short in V/H/S, anticipation is decidedly mixed for Adam Wingard’s You’re Next. Yet what we are presented with is hands-down the best film of the opening evening of FrightFest. It’s a deliciously simple plot: an affluent family are reuniting for the vacation. The mother and father play host to their grown-up sons and their respective partners for a sit-down meal. Less than two minutes into dinner and it is clear that there are some serious tensions in what is evidently an incredibly dysfunctional family. Fast-forward a couple more minutes and personal grudges are put aside as a group of animal-masked renegades surround the house and open fire with old school crossbows for seemingly no reason. The remainder of the film transforms into a solid home invasion with pitch-black humour, gory deaths and enough twists and turns to keep you satisfied throughout. It also emerges that a certain member of the attacked family, mild-mannered Erin (Vinson), is much better equipped for combat than even the invaders prepared for! You’ll never be able to listen to ‘Looking for the Magic’ by the Dwight Twilley Band again without recalling the Groundhog Day nightmarish twist it adds to You’re Next. Wingard’s home invasion horror is by no means original but for what it is it’s done well enough to keep the average horror fan morbidly content. Look out for that razor wire…
This highly-anticipated gem from Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die) proves that home-invasion movies don’t have to be bleak. The Davison family get together (in a house slightly smaller than Redditch) to celebrate the anniversary of their parents. The usual family bickering ensues as they enjoy/loathe one another’s company for the evening. However, a murderous gang, wearing the creepiest masks seen on screen since Joan Rivers’ last live DVD, decide to crash the party with their own brand of brutality. What they didn’t count on, however, is Erin, a seemingly harmless young lady until the second half where it’s revealed she knows a thing or two about surviving. You’re Next is funny, brutal, and often genius. The family-dynamic is perfectly captured, and the twists keep on coming until the last frame. Truly wonderful.
It’s a pretty good thriller but Adam still can’t hold a camera even halfway steady during dramatic dialogue exchanges, and his editing of suspense is non-existent, preferring the ‘swing the camera at great speed from one individual to another’ approach that can often leave one feeling confused, nauseous and giving up.
JOHN LLEWELLYN PROBERT
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen
Running time: 94 minutes
FrightFest Screening: 22 August 2013
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