You’re Next

Invasion of the Body Dispatchers…You’re Next is a slick, at times mordantly funny, exercise in horror family dynamics. And it’s a home invasion film too, and what a home…

The Davison clan is having a family reunion in a massive Tudor mansion in the woods. Along for the ride is their significant others, including a smirking chainsmoker, Zee (with Uma Thurman’s haircut from Pulp Fiction), an Aussie teaching assistant, Erin, and a indie filmmaker Tariq to add some drama to a fracturing family. And the Davison matriarch is a WASPy Aubrey (scream queen legend Barbara Crampton) who can barely hold things together along with the religious pater familias, Paul.

The Davison boys pot-shot each other over career choices over the family dining table. Drake (the Tom Brady-styled successful one) lobbing thinly veiled insults masked as curiosity.

And speaking of masks, that’s when things get interesting: A group of 1, 2, possibly 3 men are lurking outside in animal disguises. With a spate of arrows cracking glass, the family is suddenly under siege (“siege” being the operative word as the mens’ weaponry* is positively medieval: crossbows)

In Indiewire writer Simon Barrett claims inspiration from being a “huge fan of the Agatha Christie novel The Ten Little Indians aka And Then There Were None, a piece of fiction that continually comes up in our Really Awful Movies Podcast discussions as a catchall for people trapped and being plucked off one at a time by a scrupulous, detail-oriented killer. And that’s doing You’re Next a bit of a disservice. Lots of time and effort is spent in becoming invested in the characters, always welcome in the horror milieu, and to the filmmakers’ credit, there are a few twists.

Aussie model Sharni Vinson’s Erin (pictured) is a bodacious and resourceful ass-kicker, carrying the show when things sag.

That being said, things seriously derail toward the end, with injuries sustained by the principals that would incapacitate the average Navy Seal, let alone a bunch of to-the-manor (literally) born twats like these people. Less is more is a dictum that’s seldom followed. And gore, like swearing, works best when it’s well-placed.

***1/4 (out of 5)

[*Editors’ note: You’re Next features a death-by-blender not included in our book, Death by Umbrella! The 100 Weirdest Horror Movie Weapons…because we already had a blender write-up for the cheesy 80s horror, Pledge Night.]

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