The new wave of home invasion movies is pretty much summarized in Adam Wingard’s horror thriller You’re Next.
(USA 2011. director: Adam Wingard)
Celebrating the wedding anniversary of their parents, the family is suddenly attacked by people wearing dog masks, and it’s up to a woman who had enough survival training to fight back and discover a sinister plot.
The movie starts promising, although quite formulaic and also surprisingly without showing a killing scene in full detail. Then it again commits the eternal crime of introducing characters one has seen so many times before and also including a lot of whining and screaming after something finally happens (30 minutes into the 90 minutes runtime). So far so clichéd and also slightly annoying.
Being marketed as a horror comedy with innovations to the genre, this also comes across as a bit forced and far-fetched. Most of the time, proceedings are pretty bleak with some over-the-top violence and gore thrown in. Part of the humor comes from weird actions or reactions by all participants with snappy one-liners. They’re not the most memorable, but there are a few disturbing scenes that make you wonder if you have to laugh or not.
Despite its mostly forgettable cast with only the lead female taking the initiative and being slightly more likeable, the movie succeeds in creating tension, which stems from the frightening masks the intruders wear and also from jump scares and more subtle suspense scenes. It’s in no way innovative, but it almost makes one forget about the first 30 minutes, and also how clever it wants to be with various twists.
Of course one doesn’t necessarily watch a slasher movie for its story or characters, but because of the way people get killed. Here the movie doesn’t disappoint, although the killing methods are anything but original. It’s great to see the lead behave in a more down-to-earth manner (due to her childhood) and avoid the trapfalls so many heroines or unlucky victims in horror movies fall into. Some boobytraps she lays and the way she viciously fights back are add to this more realistic behavior, although the gratuitous violence and certain cool camera positions can be a bit overused and come across as forced. And it’s not that one hasn’t seen this all before.
The soundtrack also needs some getting used to. While the catchy song “Looking for the Magic” by the Dwight Twilley Band (or Mind The Gap, hard to tell as it really sounds exactly the same) is pretty cool and is implemented in a twisted way, the ambient noise and synth score is not only unsettling, but also unnerving.
As it is, You’re Next certainly doesn’t reinvent the genre or bring much originality to the table. But it’s entertaining enough with a strong female lead who really knows how to handle bad guys in a survive style way. If the other characters or any character would have received a bit more attention and reasons to like them, it would have made some parts of the movie more enjoyable.
Even cooler is the implementation of that special song in this twisted way:
And for those who can’t stomach this trailer and want to have “that song” without the weirdness, check out the MTG remake:
And if you can’t get enough of that catchy song (or want to find out more about the movie, check out the official Tumblr Website.
The promo material is actually more original than the whole movie, just looking at this here ;):
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