Speaking on behalf of my fellow hipster horror lovers, ‘make it gory, with cult potential, and we will come.’ Even if it’s late on a weekday night, as was the case this past week at the L.A. Film Festival, when a packed house came to see You’re Next from director Adam Wingard (V/H/S and V/H/S 2).
Looking at the cast list for You’re Next seems almost like a B-horror version of This is the End, as many of the cast members are horror veterans, with a few like Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) and Joe Swanberg (V/H/S) having experience writing and directing their own efforts and others like veteran actress Barbara Crampton (Chopping Mall, Re-Animator). The plot is simple on it’s surface: a family consisting of the parents, their four children, and a significant other for each of the siblings gather at a family getaway for their parents’ wedding anniversary when home invasion hell strikes. The family seems severely overmatched until one person from the group shows great skill for killing and survival. The carnage begins quickly, with little exposition to buffer.
This is a pretty gory film, and that is saying something considering I am the guy that seeks out the most depraved and heinous acts of violence ever committed to celluloid. Gore, for some reason, makes me laugh, not because it is bad, or because I find it funny, it just seems the more gratuitous it is the bigger I laugh, and this film kept me rolling. Normally the early lack of character and story development is a problem, especially in gore horror films where the delicate balance of gore and pathos is always a problem: Too much gore without pathos and we don’t care about the characters getting beaten to death with cumbersome objects or otherwise (Friday the 13th remake), too little gore with a boon of pathos and we are bored (Hostel, that’s right, Hostel is a boring, toothless wannabe). Writer Simon Barrett (who also acted in the film) managed this problem by getting the violence going early, but still developed the story even as the bodies were hitting the floor, blending familial tension and black humor to satiate our bloodlust while also managing to carve out a story.
If you liked The Strangers or its superior home invasion counterpart Them, then you will certainly love the larger body count and humor that is found here. I also liked that it was cast with a ‘who’s who’ of horror writers and directors, it is good to see these up-and-comers of this beloved genre collaborating, pushing each other, and taking the occasional crossbow bolt to the eye. Although the film is otherwise unremarkable, it does provide a few nice twists, decent story and plenty of gorey fun!
Watch the trailer. You’re Next opens August 23rd.