Now here is a film that achieves exactly what The Conjuring does not – it manages to keep the plot dead simple, and it delivers fear and loathing undiluted. It does not rely on vacuous atmospherics and po-faced paranormal cliches. I counted the creaking doors and while there may have been a few auditory ones, there were one - or at most two - that one actually saw and heard creak. Less creaking doors is always good.
Plus there are no ghost waifs at dim upstairs windows, no tired old exorcist larks, and even some cheeky humour. Granted You’re Next is in a different genre - file under schlock horror or slasher movie. Nevertheless, it is much more contained, focused, visceral – boy, is it visceral - and less serious about itself. It drops everything and has some dark quips just to lighten the rather blood-soaked mood. Laughter is healthy, particularly in a movie like this.
The rather wealthy Davison family have organised a family reunion to mark mom and dad’s 35th anniversary. Three sons return home, with their respective girlfriends, plus the Davisons' only daughter and her boyfriend. There are introductions and a nice relaxed and festive air, until things start to go seriously wrong at the dinner table. Clearly there are tensions between two of the brothers, Crispian (AJ Bowen) and Drake (Joe Swanberg). It's old competitive stuff in a competitive family, stuff that dates back to boyhood.
Anyway, the two brothers start arguing loudly, but then suddenly it doesn’t’ much matter very much anymore. For bolts from cross-bows are being shot into the house, left right and centre. Who is behind these gruseome killings, who are these sinister characters wearing sheep, lamb and fox masks?
And is there a connection with similar crossbow murders in the locality, as seen in the opening scenes? Make no mistake, you will want to know just who are these death-dealers, it’s riveting stuff.
There is an an interesting twist in the tale too. So in its own unpretentious way, You’re Next is a bit like Roald Dahl‘s Tales of the Unexpected on overload. Be very afraid - eye-popping fear is the name of the game.