You’re Next

It’s a low-rent home invasion flick, but it’s got the fright stuff

You're Next
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Director: Adam Wingard
Cert: 18
Genre: Horror
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen
Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins

The world's most horrible moneyed family – including critical dad, nervous mom, chubby academic and his student girlfriend, bullying older brother, preppy younger brother, Goth girlfriend, etc – meet up at an isolated country house to celebrate their parents' 30th wedding anniversary. Between the ensuing rows and learning the source of the clan's wealth – yep, defence contracts – we find ourselves wishing them ill. What a relief when the brutal gang who dispatched the couple next door during the film's Scream-alike prologue arrive with crossbows and machetes. Carry on, killers.

Until now, we hadn't quite worked out what to make of director Adam Winguard. The brightest fantasy star in the mumblecore universe has, to date, impressed with segments of the VHS portmanteau films and underwhelmed with A Horrible Way to Die. You're Next, a monster sized hit on US soil – it's This Month's The Conjuring, horror fans – begins inauspiciously. The film's cheap and cheerful generic underpinnings are trumpeted by weak characterisation, gratuitous breast shots, showy sadism, ham-fisted social satire and poor dialogue (Best bad line? "I grew up in a survivalist compound.")

It requires a little patience and suspension of disbelief to hang in there with You're Next. Does the token Goth girl really need to chew gum at the dinner table to articulate her rebelliousness? Does the princess daughter have to mention her weight twice in a minute so that we might understand that she's shallow? Are the killers legally required to keep writing 'You're Next' in the blood of each victim?

Still, somewhere, along the way, the small lightbulb over your head flicks on: this isn’t just any low-rent home invasion flick; this is the low-rent home invasion flick. Think Funny-on-purpose Games. Mr. Wingard delights in the daftness and so do we.

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic