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  You're Next Home Is Where The Horror Is
Year: 2011
Director: Adam Wingard
Stars: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton, L.C. Holt, Simon Barrett, Lane Hughes, Larry Fessenden, Calvin Reeder
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A couple have just finished making love out in their isolated country house in the woods and while he showers his girlfriend wanders downstairs to fix them both a drink. As she enters the living room she wonders about the large windows facing the forest outside, and feels a little shiver of paranoia over whether their might be someone out there, watching and hidden in the dark, but dismisses the sensation, closes the window and puts a CD in the player, then starts pouring. But she wasn't wrong to think there was someone else there, as her boyfriend discovers when he emerges from the shower: someone in an animal mask has broken in, and murders them both...

Well, that opening was like a mini movie in itself, neatly setting up the premise that we were dealing with your traditional slasher, with the sexually active victims, the nighttime setting, the masked killer and so forth, except director Adam Wingard and his screenwriter Simon Barrett (who also took a role) had other ambitions. They were part of the so-called "mumblegore" movement, a low budget answer to those talky mumblecore indies and it was appropriate that Larry Fessenden, practically the genre's patron, should appear as an actor here, for You're Next took his big ideas on a modest budget techniques and applied them to a rather tired formula.

Of course, not everyone responded to this, and for every viewer who thought, yeah, not bad at all, there were legions who complained this was nowhere near as novel as the filmmakers seemed to think it was, if anything it was very much a case of old wine in new bottles. To be fair, it certainly wasn't the comedy the creators appeared to be aiming for, there were twists which bordered on the deliberately farcical but merely playing out a Home Alone invasion narrative with more gore, though funnily enough the same amount of bloodlust, did not automatically mean this was going to have them rolling in the aisles with laughter (or off the settee with laughter, depending on where you watched it).

The set-up was simplicity itself, as we had already been made aware there was at least one killer out there in the countryside, so it was a matter of waiting to see where they would inevitably strike next. We didn't have to wait long for an answer, as we see late-middle-aged couple Rob Moran and horror favourite Barbara Crampton (the mumblegore movement liked to pay homage, if nothing else) moving into another mansion house in the same forest, unaware that anything untoward had occurred the previous night. They are here to meet up with their family for a get-together, and their four offspring bring their respective girlfriends and boyfriend for the evening meal, though we can tell the siblings don't get on as well as their parents might hope they should.

A lot of this lead in is low key, with whatever tensions restricted to muted conversations, though the mother seems to think there is someone in the house they don't know about - is she just jumping at a creaky old building's settling noises? Nope, she's correct, and after a lot of pussyfooting around we get the payoff as a visceral thriller unfolds, beginning with an unseen assailant firing crossbow bolts at the assembled through the windows. That stops the arguing, and it looks as if we're in for a gruelling plot where the characters are picked off one by one until there's nobody left but the killer(s), which is very nearly what we get, except that the real killer is not who we expected. There was a twist to contend with, which was not surprising enough for some audiences but was more than simply one character proving to be the worm that turns, as one of the girlfriends, Erin (Sharni Vinson) is revealed to be (I think this is supposed to be the funny bit) a more than capable survivalist, with all the skills that entails. Which is a pleasing comeuppance - and has a pleasing retro-synth score, too.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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