Usually, the term “Slasher Flick,” is one of derision—it’s come to mean violent and bloody and not artfully executed. To call the new movie “You’re Next,” a thriller with elements of horror, a “Slasher Flick” is to be technically accurate, but tonally way off base.
Oh, there will be plenty of slashing going on, using virtually every tool in the kitchen drawer. No—literally, things from the kitchen drawer.
As the film begins, a middle-aged couple is preparing to host a banquet at their country mansion to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Their four grown children, and their respective significant others, are all coming to dinner. We know going in that family tension, past grudges and sibling rivalries will make this a lively dinner, to say the least.
What they were not expecting was an arrow to crash right through the window and hit one of the guests right between the eyes. The mood of the party has now decidedly changed, as chaos and fear over take the guests. Remember, it’s a big house, and people will get separated.
Bodies begin to fall like bags of rocks—just like the old 80’s horror flicks. The assailants wear creepy animal masks and pop up in places you’d least expect, unless you’d seen a horror movie before—then things happen just as you’d expect.
But wait! This film has more than one trick up its sleeve. It only starts out as horror, then slyly transitions into a mystery, albeit one with a fair amount of blood. And, it gives us a smart heroine to follow, which makes a huge difference. Australian actress Sharni Vinson is the heart of the film, playing a young woman who is not gonna take it anymore. Turns out that she knows very well how to handle difficult situations ( we learn from her back story) and now the story flows from horror to mystery to—wait for it—a little bit of “Home Alone.” She’s stuck in the house and apparently the killer(s) is too. What else to do besides cleverly hide, while also fashioning some booby-traps? Vinson becomes a woman not to be messed with—she’s Jamie Lee Curtis, Linda Hamilton and Macaulay Culkin all wrapped up into one bad ass fighter with a shrimp-on-the-barbie accent.
But wasn’t “Home Alone” a family-friendly, slapstick comedy? Why, yes. Yes it was. And what puts this film above so many others within the genre, is that Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett easily mash-up multiple genres, refusing to play by the rules. There are plenty of tension-relieving laughs, head-splitting gore, and a whodunit storyline (at least for a while) that keeps you watching.
What this movie does not have are stupid characters who you want to shout at from your seat. For the most part, if someone has to go outside, or upstairs or, God forbid, into the basement—he usually has a credible reason, other than to just go someplace where he can become the next victim.
It’s not going to make the Top 20 list of great films for 2013, but this movie is better than it has to be, and, frankly, for those who can easily get freaked out at super scary horror movies (guilty), it allows some space and character development (revelations?) between the killings to make itself about more than just a body count. It’s also—surprise, surprise—about having a little fun, too.
You call that a “Slasher Flick?” Me neither.
Rated “R” for gore and violence and dirty words.