“You’re Next” from director Adam Wingard (V/H/S, A Horrible Way to Die), is an average home-invasion/murder-a-nice-family horror flick on the surface. After stripping away the basic plot, you get a pretty entertaining black comedy that is more enjoyable than developing anything that terrifies.
The plot is not terribly complex or unexpected. A wealthy family is getting together to celebrate the mother and father’s 35th wedding anniversary. They haven’t been together in quite some time and it is clear from the beginning that all members of the family fulfill a typical archetype in the dysfunctional family dynamic.
You have a pacifist college professor who is always in an argument with the pretentious and show-off of a big brother, the “black sheep” of the family who is accosted for hanging around with low-lifes, and the daughter who does not think anyone else takes her seriously. All of them have brought their significant others to this celebration of love and family dysfunction in an attempt to stack the body count as high as possible.
After some introductory scenes outlining the characters that make up the family, the film becomes brutal and quickly. Crossbow bolts go through eyeballs and heads are bashed in with blunt objects. You’re Next won’t win any awards for the gore, but that does not mean that they are holding anything back. The absence of a soundtrack during a few of the more gruesome scenes allows the brutality to sink in and one “trap” even had me squirming in my seat.
Surrounded by all of this blood and gore are the black comedy elements that show up at the strangest of times. Two of the houseguests are dead. The surviving members of the family decide it would be best to send the fastest out to the cars to check if any of them work. The two eldest brothers of the family take the time to argue about workout routines while they were growing up as two dead bodies (one of them being their own mother) start to stink up the house.
Other black comedy elements are presented when the heroine of the film starts to rig the house with booby traps to fight off the invaders. As they goofily stumble into these impromptu traps, they have reactions akin to Pesci and Stern as Macaulay Culkin dropped paint cans on them from the top of the staircase. All that was missing were some obnoxious old school slapstick sound effects. It allows the movie to be taken a lot less seriously and for what it is: A gore-fest that wants to be fun to watch.
The mediocre plot and horror movie tropes are all but played out at this point. This is another home-invasion, family-terrorizing horror movie you’ve seen before. The black comedy was a welcome addition to what seems like a stagnant sub-genre and entertains you just enough to justify your time spent.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.