The only thing scary about “You’re Next” is the startling lack of quality it possesses, but that’s not to say there isn’t a certain level of entertainment value to be mined from this fright-less horror flick. “You’re Next”, which hacks its way into theaters on Aug. 23, follows the catastrophic Davison family gathering.
Intended to celebrate the Davison parents’ 35th anniversary, the family’s weekend getaway at their quaint, isolated “project home” (read: remote mansion) quickly turns into a bloodbath that makes even familial political debates over Thanksgiving look enviable. No sooner is everyone (mom, dad, three boys, one girl, and four respective significant others) present, accounted for and getting lost in an argument over dinner than arrows start flying through the guest’s heads. Yep, arrows, but okay, only one guy gets it in the head. Still, originality points for bringing Robin Hood to the gore genre are in order.
From there things go downhill rapidly. To say that the Davison family is ill-equipped to protect themselves would be a generous overstatement. People make bold plans to run for the car on multiple occasions, but never once does anyone stop to grab the keys. This is a bad plan to begin with, but forget the keys and it's damned from the word go. Happily, one of the Davison’s sons, Crispin, had the good fortune to hook up with his former TA, Erin, who is uniquely equipped to take care of herself (read: she’s on a level with Buffy Summers). Watching Erin (Sharni Vinson) do some serious work on the animal-masked men assailing the house is undeniably gratifying, even if the animals never manage to instill fear into the viewer.
“You’re Next” is clearly a movie made by movie-lovers and that fandom is the source of its greatest strengths and weaknesses. While the movie gives some clever tips of the hat to “Rear Window” and “Home Alone”, the whole affair waxes too much like the bizarre love-child of “The Strangers” and “Funny Games” with some of the sensibilities of “Double Indemnity” sprinkled on top. In an effort to emulate some cinematic greats, “You’re Next” gets bogged down in an unshakeable identity crisis. Those few shots that are truly unique (most noticeably a big reveal shot, that’s better seen spoiler free) hold the promise of what could have been a fresh picture, but such moments are few and far between.
“You’re Next” is overwhelmingly underwhelming, but those with a soft spot for bad horror movies take note, this movie offers a generous amount of material to riff off of. Case in point: The complete list of credited actors on the film’s imdb page tops out at 13, but 14 total bodies pile up in its 95-minute run time--take that bit of information as you will, and proceed accordingly.