The journey that the horror film You're Next made is interesting. This movie actually came out two years ago when it was released as part of the Toronto International Film Festival in their Midnight Madness category. That's an area for horror films that really wouldn't be seen by important eyes normally so they get the spotlight that some of them deserve. The movie was well received and a bidding war took place over which studio was going to get to own it. Two long years later, Lionsgate won and now we all get to enjoy it and enjoy it, you will.
There are several subcategories for horror; you've got your spook story, your torture porn, your monster movie and this...the slasher film. Probably the most famous slasher movie of all time is Halloween, where Michael Meyers chases Laurie Strode around the house with a knife for 40 minutes and it's very scary when you see it for the first time. You're Next follows the exact same formula that Halloween and every other slasher film follows except it takes the lone surviving female, played here by the gorgeous Sharni Vinson (Step-Up 3D), and makes her a force of power and ass-kickery. This instantly disarms the villains and makes them meek and almost victims themselves. This is unique and original but has a side effect of no longer making the bad guys scary. Part of what makes a horror film good is the scare factor and You're Next lacks in scares immensely, but I assure you that you won't miss it.
The film is simple; it's about a large, wealthy, estranged family that has a rare reunion to celebrate their parents' 35th anniversary at the family mansion in the woods. Once everyone is there, the terror begins as three masked psychos start killing them one-by-one. The family is rounded out by a cast of horror regulars that you may recognize but won't know their names. The stand-out performers are Joe Swanberg (V/H/S), AJ Bowen (The House of the Devil) and Amy Seimetz (Tiny Furniture) who improv with each other in a truly hilarious way. The squabbling between them as brothers and sister are very funny and some of the best parts of the film. Don't expect much from the rest of the cast though since they're pretty bad at pretty much everything they attempt.
Even though this film isn't scary, it's still way gory. Some very creative forms of murder were displayed here; one of which is with a blender and not in the way you're thinking. I'm not sure if this was intentional from writer/director team Simon Barret and Adam Wingard (scenes in V/H/S and ABCs of Death), but there seems to be a message about guns in the film. Most horror movies rely on the use of a gun as either a way to finally kill the monster or to intimidate the weak. There is only one gun shown in the movie and it's never used and appears for only a minute. All the rest of the carnage comes at the hands of other forms of weaponery and that slight display of creativity is something that I appreciate and didn't get past me.
Because You're Next seems to be getting good reviews and has a wide release, don't go expecting this to be stellar. Remember that this is still the stuff of the Midnight Madness showcase, which is for B-horror films that mostly go straight to Netflix streaming or VOD. Is You're Next better than most of what you've seen there? Absolutely! It's fun, gory, comical and unique...but that's only when compared to those other films which is like being the skinniest kid at fat camp.