Wednesday, 15 January 2014

You're Next (18) | Film review

You're Next, dir. Adam Wingard, wr. Simon Barrett, st. Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen, Joe Swanberg

If it doesn't quite breathe new life into the desperately flagging slasher-slash-home invasion genre, you've at least got to put it down to heroic defeat. The setup is tediously recognisable, as a large group of people, in this instance a family of inlaws and outlaws, descend upon a remote house in the country. It's not long however, before thumps are heard upstairs, doors ominously creak, and masked faces reflect in windows as they observe the unsuspecting. What is refreshing is to see one of the group's number - Erin (Vinson) - calmly keep her head when everyone else begins figuratively losing theirs. "I grew up on a survival camp" she calmly informs someone. Fair enough. It's a bold and brazen move and typical of the film's fairly successful nod towards inly-black comedy. Ditto the movie's device of revealing the killers and their motives in the second act. But after all the axing, stabbing, crossbowing, macheteing, garrotting, and smoothie blending, it's still the same old formula underneath. There's a great, terrifying atonal score from Mads Heldtberg that sounds like abandoned aircraft carriers rubbing hulls in a cemeterial shipyard, and Wingard makes the most of his modest budget, but like the house's shadowy yet empty corners that promise terrors, the creeps just aren't there.