Next family reunion, G-Mom and G-Pop better bring their arsenal. Just in case.
The very rich, but very dysfunctional Davison family reunites for the 35th wedding anniversary of the mother (Barbara Crampton) and father (Rob Moran). Everybody in the family comes, and hell they even bring their own significant others to get everybody acquainted. However, it becomes abundantly clear early on that nobody in this family really gets along, and as a result, fight at the dinner table over something utterly and completely dumb. But once somebody gets an arrow shot through their head, all of the family-squabbling is put to the side, and the feeling of danger arises throughout the house. Why? Well, it’s simple: A bunch of masked-killers are attacking these family members and killing them one-by-one. Some are unlucky, and some get very lucky, but staying alive and being fight off the enemy is only where the night begins.
After this movie being postponed for what seemed like a century (in reality, it was only 2 years, but it was a long two years!), I am finally able to get a taste of You’re Next, and figure out just what all of the fuss was about. Home-invasion thrillers come, and they go as they please, and rarely re-invent the wheel of the horror genre, especially in today’s world of modern-day cinema. However, that doesn’t mean a little movie like this can’t just come out of nowhere and completely shock us, but not by changing the game up and offering us something new, but by simply having fun and remembering the old-school days of horror movies, where one used to cheer for the goodies, and boo the baddies.
Yeah, those were the days my friends, and You’re Next reminds us that they’re back and still as fun as they were all those years ago. Hurrah for that!
The aspect of this movie that totally works is how the screenplay from Simon Barrett and the direction from Adam Wingard totally compliment one other; almost in a way that I haven’t seen from a writer-director combo in quite some time, especially within the horror genre. Barrett’s tone for this movie may weird some viewers out at first by how jokey it is, despite being terribly gory and gruesome in the first 5 minutes or so, but once the movie gets going, the plot starts to thicken, and you’re ultimately set-up for what the rest of this movie is going to be and look like, and it only gets better from there. One second, Barrett will have us laughing our assess off by a random sight-gag, or something silly a character does; and then the next second, have a disturbing sequence of someone getting a bodily-organ torn from them, in the most gory way possible. However, with most horror movies where it seems like it would not work and just become a disjointed affair, Barrett surprisingly keeps it grounded in a sense where you know what to expect from the comedy, and you know what to expect from the inordinate amount of violence.
Then again though, a lot of that same credit I just gave to Barrett, could easily have gone to Wingard as well, considering he seems to be having just as much fun with this material, if not more. Once the first person at this family reunion is killed, it’s an all-out slug-fest from there, and every chance Wingard has to do something new, cool, or simply righteous with his kills, he doesn’t back away and embraces it. You would think that all of the killings in this movie will just make you numb after awhile, but Wingard surprisingly finds newer, more exciting ways to bring out as much awe-inspiring and cheerful moments of violence, as humanly possible as it is to do for a horror movie. He never goes over-the-top with it; nope, instead, he keeps it bloody, brutal, in-your-face, and mostly compelling, even when he does seem to be pulling whatever he can out of his ass. However, I think more horror directors need to be pulling stuff out of their ass, especially if it’s this fun and entertaining to watch.
Which may be weird for some to hear, especially considering this a horror movie, and as we all know; horror isn’t necessarily the most joyous genre of all. But Barrett and Wingard think differently: They know that horror movies should be just as disgusting and as horribly gruesome as it has been perceived as being, while also being scary whenever possible. Also though, they know that horror movies should be an entertaining experience you can only have at the movies, especially when they’re done at this caliber, and with this much of a playful tone and feeling. The two do get a tad bit “too jokey” at times, almost, dare I say, falling into the territory of being “meta”, but most of the times, they were able to make me laugh, while also expecting the unexpected with it’s story, the violence involved with it, and the direction.
Thank you, Mr. Wingard and Mr. Barrett. It’s been awhile since the last time us movie critics remembered how much fun it could be going to the movies, and seeing a horror movie, without necessarily having to be scared shitless. Thank you very much.
And of course no good horror movie would be considered “good”, if it wasn’t for the perfectly-pitched cast they have on hand here. Everybody’s good here, especially because of the fact that nobody’s really a bigger star than the other here, and even if they are, they sure as hell aren’t treated as such. With the exception of maybe one chick, everybody’s demise is left up in the air, flying, and soon to land at any second, for any reason. Every character here is actually like a pawn on Barrett’s and Wingard’s chess-table: They all have their reasoning for being there, their strengths, and their weaknesses, however, they could be gone without any fair warning. Literally, you could be watching a character on-screen, seeing them do something cool, courageous, or even bad-ass, and then the next second, see them taken away from you because they weren’t thinking all that straight or got caught off-guard. That was a whole bunch of fun to watch, and it was only made better due to the cast being totally up for anything that Barrett and Wingard were able to throw at them. And yes, blood-flavored corn syrup was one of them.
Consensus: While it may not be the game-changer or revolutionary flick that most have been deeming it as, You’re Next still goes back to the basics, keeps it simple, bloody, fun, entertaining, wild, unpredictable, and always worth watching, even if the horror genre isn’t your favorite flavor of pie. It sure as hell isn’t mine, and look what I’m saying about it!
8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!