You’re Next (Adam Wingard, 2013)

In maintaining the integrity of their comparable, frequently collaborative contemporaries, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have unsurprisingly spun a tale worth telling via an amalgamation of the unique and tried and true genre tropes. For the uninformed, You’re Next is the creative team’s seriocomic take on your typical home invasion thriller – the central Davison family and company finding themselves the collective target of a band of murderous, animal-masked sociopaths. As the body count rises, cliches are continually challenged as one Erin (Sharni Vinson) takes to employing her acquired survivalist’s skill set in an attempt to keep the surviving house guests alive.

Immediately establishing credibility in its opening moments – untypically set to the now-haunting tune of the Dwight Twilley Band’s “Looking for the Magic” – You’re Next admirably sets the tone for what’s to come. Slow to build from here but unavoidably so, the obligatory introduction of the soon-to-be terrorized is agreeably bland, the bits of sibling rivalry and the like serving only to ground these individuals as unsuspecting prey.

As the body count rises along with the film’s effective dark comedic tendencies, You’re Next rarely ceases to entertain despite the purposefully foreseeable actions of its lesser characters. Employing a latter-half twist that reaffirms its status as something unconventionally conventional, Wingard uses this to tonally tilt the odds in our heroine’s favor, the once terrifying assailants now gleefully reduced to a fragment of their initial threat. Even despite the collective absence of scares, the creative powers-that-be keep things clever and interesting throughout the remainder of their pursuit of conflict resolution, haunting images of masked marauders doing the deed and revelling in it reinforcing competent atmosphere.

Aptly showcasing its strengths while simultaneously embracing and straying from genre norms, You’re Next benefits solely from remaining steadfast in its intentions. Lacking in genuine scares if uncomfortably tense nonetheless, a heap of silly, inconsequential characters serve only to gorily glorify the film’s horror trappings as the spotlight steadies on the brutal resourcefulness of Vinson’s surprising turn. Technically proficient and well-rounded, You’re Next is most certainly an adequate contribution to the medium regardless of how slight in the grand scheme of things.

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