In a remote woodland holiday home, the Davison’s family reunion is shattered when an arrow kills one of the guests — the first sign that the house is about to be besieged by psychotic killers in animal masks.
If you fell asleep after watching a double bill of Danish Dogme drama Festen and French home-invasion horror Them, you might dream up this latest film from Adam Wingard, now delivering on the promise of his low-budget early features and segments in horror anthologies V/H/S and The ABCs Of Death. Key scenes of Wingard’s best-known film, A Horrible Way To Die, were set in the proverbial cabin in the woods, and here the traditional horror setting is only marginally upgraded to an isolated country pile in the middle of — yep — a forest. The difference is crucial, however, as the family reunion provides the perfect opportunity for a deliciously subversive, well executed splatter-fest, equal parts Agatha Christie and agonising cruelty — with plenty of in-jokes.
Speaking of ‘well executed’, You’re Next boasts some genuinely shocking murders, as the Davison family succumb to a brutal attack from animal-masked assailants hiding in the woods. In the set-up, as is often the case with such films, none of the characters seem sympathetic. But as the death toll mounts, you can’t help rooting for the survivors — especially when an unlikely hero emerges, and surviving family members fight back. As Simon Barrett’s script gleefully twists the knife, Wingard deftly juggles gory horror and black humour, keeping the audience in the dark about the true nature of the home invasion, before dragging them to the final, satisfying conclusion.
For a film whose title has such a sense of urgency, it’s surprising it’s taken two years to be released. Don’t be put off: Wingard is on his way to becoming the next Sam Raimi, and You’re Next may well be your next favourite horror film.
While it doesn’t defy genre conventions like Cabin In The Woods, Wingard’s tale of a dysfunctional family under siege is an outrageously entertaining crowd-pleaser — if you have the stomach for it.