Slasher movies have stuck so close to their roots of murdering teens, lake houses, and butchering blonde women with fake boobs they’ve become just as boring to mindlessly stare at than, well, fake boobs. Audiences have flocked so far away from the genre it’s like the kid in high school everyone assumes is dead but really is just living in a small bungalow outside of Arizona—which for slasher movies is the laughed-off section of Redbox. But thank God someone has finally found the fun and uniqueness in butchering people in droves and wrapped it up in a little bloody bow that in “You’re Next”.
Directed by Adam Wingard (“VHS 2”), “You’re Next” pays homage to the classics, which were movies that took a relatively unfrightening premise and turned it into a paralyzing and brutal experience. This is a style Wingard immediately grasped and let lose right from the get-go with a consistent, suspenseful tone.
Unlike today, with 30 minutes of intro with girls in bikinis and dudes high-fiving, there is an overwhelming sense of paranoia that the killers in “You’re Next” are always lurking, waiting in the dark. Sure there is some character introduction like in 1979’s “Halloween” but, like Michael Myers, the killers are lying in wait as they watch and plan. They are created not out of what they do, but what they don’t. Plus being in the woods eliminates the scenes where the killer awkwardly sprints away before the girl can do the double take, which is always nice.
Speaking of characters, the movie wastes no time illustrating the family and their spouses as a dysfunctional yet loving comedy of sorts, all before they are picked off one by one in a random and even hilarious onslaught. Even as arrows stick out of their bodies the well-matched cast is able to banter and play off of each other in the midst of panic, some being brutally murdered before they can say “I’m sorry for calling you useless, sis”. It creates the image of a somewhat disjointed family, introduces the possibility of a ‘they are gonna team-up, reconcile and become bad asses’ angle, and then gouaches that sense of foresight with a machete to the face. The movie goes from family banter to mass murder in about 4.7658 seconds and never slows down. Who needs talking, right? More gore, more gore!
On top of all the stylistic homages there is also a surprising amount of intuitive and even comedic logic that improves upon the genre. Everything from explaining why one of the characters is so easily thrust into hero mode, or how one of the killers got into the house so easily by simply opening the closet that is always about to opened but never is because some little twerp had to say “Hey, babe, let’s make-out and stuff” goes towards filling in the pot-holes that are always present but rarely avoided, making for a smoother ride. Think a gory, horrifying Easter egg hunt, where the rabbit has a crossbow and axe (a.k.a Easter in Russia. Boom.).
With a steady hand on the wheel and an eye on the road ahead, Adam Wingard has created a hilarious, unique, shocking, and giddy violent modern classic. It’s likening to slashers of the 70’s and style of the modern age make it not only one of the best in the genre in recent years, but possibly one of the best you’ll ever see. Every kill is unique and humor is not only derived from kills but character reactions. If having this big a smile on your face when a family is being cut down one by one then lock me up and call me Gizmo, King of the Rats.