Similar to 2008’s “The Strangers,” and most recently, this summer’s “The Purge,” a family is pinned down in a massive house out in the country, as guys wearing masks (plastic animal ones this time) terrorize them with crossbows, axes, and machetes. They even set a couple booby-traps on the outskirts in case the panicky residents attempt to flee. Once the seemingly random madness begins, the family of six (parents & four siblings) and their respective significant others try to avoid death blah, blah, blah.
It’s the same old story, same old song and bloody dance. The only catch (I truly hope) is that the filmmakers institute a spoof-vibe working in-concert with the pockets of legit suspense; which do lead to a couple of genuine scares as the masked murders methodically appear in a Jason Voorhees/Michael Myers-like manner behind an isolated victim – who always seems to get conveniently separated from the pack within the house. If one were take a guess, director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett ("Autoerotic," "V/H/S" flicks’ segments) were trying to make a twisted horror version of “Home Alone” spliced with sequences found in “Friday the 13th”or “Halloween” sequel from the ‘80s. And that usually means the only redeeming quality about this revolves around the kill shots, kids.
The deaths are all throwbacks and homages. Some amp up the violence via multiple stabbings or techniques ripped out of a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” sequel, sans the torture parts, while others are fundamental and unoriginal. Speaking of torture though, that’s one element this sucker was wise to leave out. Torture slows down any horror movie these days and dampens the tense vibe (if any) instituted. However, what they forgot to delete is piss-poor acting, save for the randomly prepared MacGyver-like, Sharni Vinson, and the delightful prick, Joe Swanberg. Everyone else is painfully awful, whether it’s done on purpose or not, and really doesn’t inject any cleverness or enhance the subtle winking the filmmakers were striving for (again, you hope).
Overall, “You’re Next” is kind of cool, and by cool, I mean different, as it tries to set a tone similar to how the “Evil Dead” remake from earlier this year with engaging in horrific dark fun. Problem is, they can never cut (no pun) the script correctly and seem to lack a cohesive scheme within the hybrid angle.
You're Next is rated R and opens in the Tampa Bay market on 8/23.