I wish I’d been around in the ’80s. Sure there’d be Thatcherism and bad hair to contend with, but there’d be a new slasher film in the cinema every week. Now it’s all found footage blah blah blah etc. So it’s actually quite nice to see You’re Next, a home invasion slasher directed by Adam Wingard.
A large, wealthy family meets up in a big house in the middle of nowhere (a cabin in the woods for rich people) and get killed off one by one. It plays out how you’d expect, doesn’t really contain any characters and serves purely as an excuse for a string of grizzly deaths. Which is exactly what you want from a film like this. Sometimes you want to be challenged, sometimes you want to be moved, and sometimes you want to sit down and watch some annoying people being murdered in a variety of ways.
There are even some laughs, reminding us that comedy can be scary and horror can be funny – something which is easily forgotten by both genres. The worry is that audiences won’t realise it’s meant to be funny, because it’s played straight and no one at any point gurns or does a fart. You’re Next never becomes a spoof, remaining respectful of the genre and providing a couple of good scares along the way. The special effects are impressive and some of the kills are great, as you’d hope in a film that’s purely kills, but a lot of reviews have spoiled the best one. Not cool. And with that in mind, all I’ll say is that the hero – whoever that might be – is a refreshingly good screen presence. Then there are the obligatory winks to genre fans, such as the casting of horror filmmakers like Joe Swanberg and Ti West and the old-school score.
Disappointingly, it’s neither funny nor scary enough to be particularly memorable, and won’t be topping anyone’s favourite horror films list which we definitely all have. But with just the right amount of self-awareness it’s a good antidote to The Conjuring, with its tedious cries of “THIS IS THE SCARIEST FILM EVER AND IT DEFINITELY ACTUALLY REALLY HAPPENED.” You’re Next knows it’s just a fun slasher flick, and if you’re like me (easily bored and a bit weird), then that might just be enough.