Some of the best films don’t define themselves by one genre, but instead meld together two or three totally different ones which are somehow perfectly matched. One of my favorite combinations of genres, and one that very often goes underappreciated, is horror-comedy. Horror-comedy is a beautiful combination of blood, terror and roaring laughter. If you are a person who isn’t that fond of this type of movie, then maybe You’re Next isn’t for you.
But if you are an individual who finds films like Cabin in the Woods to be terribly entertaining and creative, then I strongly suggest you give You’re Next a look.
You’re Next is the creation of director Adam Wingard, and while originally was released in 2011, it is just hitting theatres now. The film is the last in a long line of movies that were originally shown at Sundance and went on to grow in popularity. Many movies in the horror genre are just corny compilations of clichés and cheap scares, so you may be a tad wary of You’re Next. But, this movie is far from a carbon copy of old horror films regurgitated, so quit that worrying.
The film begins like many horror movies before it: A couple is getting intimate, and shortly after a crazed killer is introduced and proceeds to brutally kill them both. What fun. We get our first glance at the creepy, yet eerily innocent, mask of our killer(s), and the terror of the movie is off and running.
Crispian and his young girlfriend Erin are the main characters of this movie. They arrive at Crispian’s parent’s house, where a family reunion of sorts is taking place for his parents’ thirty-fifth wedding anniversary. This sets the scene for the brutality oh-so-soon to come.
All is normal for this boring portion of the movie. That is until a family dinner, filled with hilarious bickering, is interrupted by a cross bow shot through a dinner guest’s head. This is when the true action kicks in. Arrows start to rain in, a family member is killed with barbed wire, the mother is killed with an axe, and the true horror of the movie starts to take shape.
The movie does drag on for a bit here, with too much monotonous killing and dying, and too little fright or intrigue. However, I urge you to stick through it, and (spoiler) you will be greatly rewarded.
This is when what I like to call “twist time” kicks in, when the truly praisable portions of the movie unsurface. Spoiler: A brother named Felix is found out to be in on all of the murders. He and his girlfriend Zee hired a group of trained killers to take out his family so that he would receive millions of dollars in inheritance money. Erin, almost out of nowhere, is able to fight off and kill one of the hired attackers. It is revealed that she grew up on a survivalist colony, and she goes on to use these special skills to kill every attacker, along with Zee and Felix, single handedly. When all seems well and over—when Erin is safe and all seem to be dead—the greatest reveal and by far best part of the movie presents itself.
Erin discovers that her dear boyfriend Crispian, who left to find help after his mother’s death, was in on the plan all along. We are treated to a brilliant monologue where Crispian, through his utter insanity, pleads with Erin to not turn him in and actually marry him, run away with him and live a rich lifestyle with him thanks to his newly received millions. Erin in turn kills him (darn), only to be shot by a policeman who finally shows up. As she regains consciousness, she bears witness to the young cop’s death. Instead, the officer falls prey to a trap Erin had set for the killers, bringing a splendidly humourous end to this thrilling movie.
A few select fantastic moments in this film are what make it a good movie. These moments include hilarious dialogue at the dinner scene, where a family member’s filmmaker boyfriend is berated by Drake (a brother), and told he should film commercials instead of documentaries, right before the boyfriend one of the arrows goes through the boyfriend’s head. In this same scene, a very comedic and petty fight between brothers is interrupted by arrow, making for an amazingly chaotic and overall enjoyable cinematic moment.
We also are treated to the hilarity of Zee’s attempt to seduce Felix next to his dead mother, and the wonderfully grotesque death by blender Felix experiences at the hands of Erin. These few well-written, filmed and directed moments are what make this movie endearing. Those, and the ending.
The ending ties this movie together as the enjoyable horror-comedy that I originally said it was. We see hope blossom, the bleakness clear, and then immediately see it torn away in the most cartoonish and ridiculous of fashions—the cop’s death facilitated by Erin’s trap.
This movie is not perfect, and you will not leave it pleading your friends to go see it. It is, however, a solid film with a few brilliant moments that will make you happily overlook the rest.
Overall, this makes for an enjoyable watch, and anyone who’s looking for a few obnoxious laughs, gross deaths and thrilling fights should for sure check it out.