The ’80s has been making a big comeback in theaters for some time. As executives who grew up during that period want to see movies that remind them of their childhood, audiences are subjected to movies like “The A-Team,” “21 Jump Street” and “The Smurfs.” Even horror films have gotten in on the action, with this year’s remake of “Evil Dead.” Now “You’re Next” is, well, next in that line. Unlike most other films that try to recapture that ’80s vibe, “You’re Next” is an entertaining surprise that would be right at home during the Ronald Reagan era.
Erin (Sharni Vinson) is traveling with her boyfriend Crispian (AJ Bowen) to his parent’s weekend mansion in, naturally, a remote area of the woods to help celebrate his parents’ anniversary. What’s supposed to be a joyous occassion quickly shows signs of cracks beneath the exterior. Crispian doesn’t get along with his brother Drake, and everyone thinks the third brother, Felix, is odd. None of this sibling rivalry matters though, when “House of the Devil” director Ti West, in a cameo, takes an arrow through the neck by someone in a freaky animal mask. As the group tries to hang on to their wits, the horrible truth dawns on them: this was all planned. And they might already be in the house.
“You’re Next” lovingly embraces everything that’s great about the slasher sub-genre. From shots that ramp up the tension, making the audience fear a killer is just off screen to massive amounts of blood, the film takes a great amount of glee in how ridiculous these movies are. Featuring actors involved in the improvisational mumblecore movement, most notably “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg, the actors avoid saying the same old lines of dialogue in these films. Instead, they’re clearly having a great time making jokes even as someone is dying.
There’s a nice twist to things in “You’re Next” and to reveal it would take away the film’s personal spin on slasher films. Needless to say, the film serves as a reminder to the audience that so long as people die in creative ways, it doesn’t matter who’s doing the killing… just so long as there is killing.
“You’re Next” uses an audience’s bloodlust for on-screen death to its advantage, making the film the best slasher flick since probably “Scream.” With all of the blood, deaths and jokes, it’s everything one could want in a horror, all the way down to a score that utilizes synthesizers. Just like the ’80s.