‘You’re Next’ a bloody good time

By Frank Ruggiero (frank@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Aug. 28, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 28, 2013
‘You’re Next’ a bloody good time

Sharni Vinson stars in ‘You’re Next.’

It’s a good time for horror movies.

With more and more filmmakers breaking away from the norm, audiences have been treated to some frighteningly fun times that turn the genre on its head.

“You’re Next” is one of them.

Playing more like the darkest of dark comedies than a conventional horror movie, this home invasion thriller finds plenty new to do with its otherwise familiar territory.

Adam Wingard (“V/H/S”) directs with glee, layering tones of suspense, graphic violence and, yes, hilarity. It’s an odd combination, but one that asks viewers to go with the flow, which, in this case, happens to be red and gushing.

College professor Crispian (A.J. Bowen, “A Horrible Way to Die”) is heading to his parents’ (Barbara Crampton, “Read You Like a Book,” and Rob Moran, “Kingpin”) secluded vacation home to celebrate their anniversary with the rest of his typically dysfunctional family. He’s also bringing his girlfriend, former student Erin (Sharni Vinson, “Bait”), to meet them.

The trip goes well enough, with the usual sibling rivalry ensuing — until everyone sits down for dinner. A well-timed crossbow bolt interrupts the argument, with plenty more (both shots and arguments) to follow. The panicked family members soon realize they’re being hunted by three mysterious assailants, each wearing a creepy-as-hell plastic animal mask. Furthermore, all cell phone reception has been mysteriously blocked.

As the situation looks increasingly dire, Erin, who, it turns out, lived in an Australian survivalist camp as a kid, takes charge of the situation. They begin boarding the windows and locking the doors, only to realize that one of the attackers has been hiding in the house for days. But Erin begins to turn the table on the invaders, who themselves begin to realize they’re getting much more than they bargained for.

All the while, the familial bickering continues, even as family members drop left and right, adding to the film’s darkly funny undertone. The fact that audience members can go from cringing at a victim’s brutal murder to laughing at some brothers’ inane squabbling speaks volumes to the atmosphere Wingard has created.

“You’re Next” is deceptive, though, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing in wolf’s clothing. Its initial trailers tease at something of a darker, more serious nature, which the filmmakers happily deliver in the first act. But Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (also of “V/H/S”) have something else up their sleeves, and once this is revealed, the tone shifts to über-darkly comic, while maintaining the already established levels of gore and horror.

As the mayhem reaches a fever pitch (along with the 1980s-style synthesized soundtrack), the dialogue and increasingly over-the-top action take on a Sam Raimi-esque quality, which suits “You’re Next” to a tee. Like the recent, Raimi-approved “Evil Dead” rehash, it’s an unexpectedly fun time that’ll startle with jump scares aplenty, while keeping genre fans cringing and laughing throughout.

“You’re Next,” rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality and nudity, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.

Additional Images

Sharni Vinson stars in ‘You’re Next.’

Lane Hughes, Simon Barrett and L.C. Holt star in ‘You’re Next.’

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