Review first published by movieScope
When affluent, retirement-age Paul (Rob Moran) and Aubrey Davison (Barbara Crampton) and their mostly feckless adult scions all converge on their fixer-upper country estate for the first dynastic reunion in years, petty familial frictions soon erupt into something more murderous with the arrival of three masked intruders. What follows is a smart genre hybrid, as a finely observed social comedy of dysfunctional manners is slyly infiltrated by bloody home invasion tropes, and the generational decline of the haute bourgeoisie on display fast gives way to a more fundamental (but intimately related) struggle for survival.
Here, as with their earlier collaboration A Horrible Way To Die (2010), director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett bring a refreshing mumblecore sensibility to genre cinema, with an unusually strong focus on quirky character and witty dialogue, and an added preoccupation with class that has for too long been absent from American horror (despite recent showings in Dark Skies and The Purge). Australian Erin (Sharni Vinson) casts an outsider’s perspective on the claustrophobic set-up, while proving, with her self-reliance and unexpected resourcefulness, to be the most deserving inheritor of this family’s flagging fortunes.
Full of black humour and escalating grand guignol, You’re Next amiably reconstitutes The Shining and The Strangers as deep-piercing social satire for a nation as over-entitled as it is under-achieving.