Written by: Matt Molgaard
Creating a believable, frightening home invasion film is fast becoming a legitimate challenge. Pics of this nature are surfacing frequently these days, and the more we see, the less originality we can expect. Fortunately for fans, Adam Wingard’s latest, You’re Next manages to avoid stereotypical pitfalls in favor of unexpected revelations and sporadic actions.
The story sees a family meet up at a vacation home to celebrate 35 years of marriage between the patriarch and matriarch. All the kids are along for the ride, which, in a sense is unfortunate: Half of these guys are blatant assholes who – frankly – deserve to bite the bullet… or arrow… or axe. What begins as a somewhat tense meal immediately escalates, leaving this group fighting for their lives. There are a handful of masked lunatics lingering outside the home, and they’re picking members off with ease. Until they attempt to turn Erin into a carcass. Bad move. She’s got survival skills times ten, and she’s about to turn the tides on these masked thugs. Sadly, she’ll unearth more than she ever bargained for as she mows through the villainous bunch until only a few family members remain.
The cinematography is gorgeous, and Wingar’s decision to play everything very straight, steering clear of over the top or tongue in cheek silliness pays immeasurable dividends (though there’s wonderfully dry humor incorporated in the flick, like the image of Joe Swanberg wandering around for 45 minutes with an arrow sticking out of his back). There’s a haunting element of the flick because it feels as though it could potentially happen to you. And unlike other pictures in the home invasion category (Ils, Them, Funny Games, The Strangers, etc., etc.) You’re Next actually brings a very valid motive for this hellacious attack, which only endears the pic more unnerving.
There are some fantastic onscreen performance to take in here, including fine work from the aforementioned Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Sharni Vinson, Rob Moran and Barbara Crampton (who still looks absurdly attractive). And the synergy, despite the tension among the group, works very, very well.
Loved the pacing, loved the graphic depictions of violence and – for the most part – loved the characters. This is a sure fire winner, and an obvious pick for standout effort of 2013.