Running time: 94 minutes
Starring: Sharni Vinsen, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A.J. Bowen, Joe Swanberg
Who to see it with: Someone who wishes horror protagonists were smarter
After its grim prologue, You're Next begins rather predictably. Parents arrive at their remote mansion and are soon joined by their four children and their significant others, ignorant of the violent masked men waiting in the woods. It looks like a family dramedy that will quickly become a standard home invasion slasher. Simply following the traditional horror outline would not have been that bad, in this case, because the dysfunctional family dynamic is funny and weightier than that of the typical group of foolish teenagers/twenty somethings. However, the plot takes an unexpected turn when a guest reveals that they are uniquely prepared for this kind of situation.
YN toys with clichés in a fun way. The dumbest decisions are filmed in a mocking manner, but the smart main protagonist will have the audience rooting for them rather than shaking their heads. At times, the characters' actions and dialogue seem hilariously, B-movie strange. Some of these moments are just campy, while others actually make sense in light of later events. The funny family dynamic is somewhat lost at the movie continues (obviously, due to the rising body count), but the numerous plot twists and shifting relationships keep things interesting. It's like a twistier, faster-paced The Purge, except it embraces the genre's absurdity rather than trying, and often failing, to be suspenseful; somewhat similar in mood to The Cabin in the Woods, though much less outrageous and ambitious. There are a few decent jump scares, but don't see this if you want to be scared. You're Next should be your next horror watch if you want an action-packed, tongue-in-cheek take on the home invasion horror formula.