Scream, laugh, apologize, repeat

You're Next

on September 16, 2011 by Sara Maria Vizcarrondo

It's the Davidson's 35th wedding anniversary and the all the kids are attending the dinner. Each is introducing a love interest. For Crispian (filmmaker A.J. Bowden) it's Erin (Sharni Vinson), a soft but savvy Australian who seems like the odd-girl-out, particularly because the Davidsons are lousy rich. Dad Paul (Rob Moran) seems milquetoast, but he made a mint with a defense securities firm, an offensive source of wealth his family defends with, "He was just in marketing!" Karma approacheth. At dinner, the family rivalry is high: Crispian hates his older suck-up brother Drake (filmmaker Joe Swanberg, Alexander the Last) and their sister Amy (Aimee Seimetz), who arrives toting an iffy filmmaker beau (horror maker Ti West of House of the Devil). Their assy dinner chat about documentaries versus commercials (Swanberg calls them the best of the form) is catnip for insiders and mumblecore fans. But the real juice happens before the roast is served: arrows pierce the windows and, of course, the children. The family never overcomes the shock and, more comically, never develops any sense of self-preservation. They scream uncontrollably ("What is happening to us?!?!!?") and can't regain their breath for long enough to connive an escape route or call the cops. Even their bereavement histrionics impede their survival ("My daughter is dead, I need to lie down"). And this is where this film gets interesting. It's precisely tooled for the stuff horror genre fans love--all the reliable beats are there--but the murders are hilarious. When the Davidsons decide to send for help and Amy sells herself to the family as their fastest runner, she's offended they decline and whines, "You never believed in me!" By the time I got excited for the next funny death, I had to check in with my moral compass--and so will you. Yes, it's high rolling comedy with the lowest personal values, but the context of a millionaire war profiteer from middle management under assault creates a layer to You're Next that, if you're watching it ironically, spells out fuel for judgment. I haven't seen a film that divides audiences this strongly since the vagina dentata horror/dramedy Teeth. When Erin is under threat, the audience gets serious and stakes are high, but since the rest can't get over their petty sibling rivalries as their brother lays gurgling, they might just deserve what's coming to them.

Contact: Micah Green
Cast: Sharni Vinson, A.J. Bowden, Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Wendy Glenn, Margaret Laney, Rob Moran, Amy Seimetz, Ti West
Director: Adam Wingard
Screenwriter: Simon Barrett
Producer: Keithe Calder, Jessica Wu, Simon Barrett, Kim Sherman
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Rating: TBD
Running time: 95 min.
Release date: TBD

Tags: Sharni Vinson, A.J. Bowden, Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Wendy Glenn, Margaret Laney, Rob Moran, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett

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