Do you remember The Strangers? A young couple is terrorized at their secluded vacation home by three strangers in creepy masks, hell bent on killing them for reasons that are apparent to no one.
Have you seen the trailer for You’re Next? Sounds eerily similar, doesn’t it? I mean, practically the same thing, right?
Wrong. This ain’t no Strangers.
A family gathering at their expansive vacation home brings the Davison clan siblings Crispin, Jake, Felix, and Aimee together from what you can only assume are distant corners of the globe. With them come new mysterious Aussie girlfriend Erin, uptight cold-fish wife Kelly, eye-rolling girlfriend Zee, and hipster filmmaker boyfriend Tariq, all to celebrate the 35th wedding anniversary of the beloved parents.
The cracks in the “happy family” facade show up before you even meet all of the characters, from chemically imbalanced mom to purse-full-of-Vicodin sister-in-law. Each Davison takes their turn digging and goading each other until the air at dinner crackles with the tension that only true family dysfunction can generate. Not that dysfunction can’t bring a family together when you have three psychopath killers breaking every door and window of your house trying to get at your marrow.
And they wear masks. Did I mention the masks? Don’t forget the masks.
A) What really good psychopath kills without a mask? It’s the Code of the Slashers. But also
B) They. Are. Creepy. They deserve their own punctuation.
Luckily for the Davison family, one of their guests has a surprising interest in survival and leads the family piece by piece (and, in some cases, one piece at a time) through THE emergency drill of the year.
Now, to the meat of it: This is being billed as a horror movie. With a very broad use of the word and a head tilt and maybe one eye closed, yeah, I could see that. There is blood and guts and gore, slashers and chase scenes and people popping out at you to make you scream. You can get all that from the trailer. And the horror bits are horrific; graphic and periodically hard to watch, each kill a new and interesting use of household objects as weapons.
But what the trailer doesn’t convey, and what was confirmed by the packed theater of fellow sociopaths that I watched this with (all gleefully laughing and cheering) is that this movie is fun. This movie is smart and witty and well-written, the dialogue itself especially edged, paced at a breakneck sprint through the woods. And this movie is hilarious. Hi-Larious. The horror bits (in addition to being awesomely explicit) toe the line of campy in a slasher movie, meat mallet through the back of the skull kind of way. This is no ground-breaking horror movie, but it is a wicked dark comedy, as dark as you can get, with plenty of violent mayhem to keep the story sharp and the tension high
Think High Tension meets Home Alone. Hilarity does, in fact, ensue, and it is spectacularly messy and satisfying.