You’re Next begins very much like the horror films you’ve seen over the years; the eerie big house, not a neighbour for miles and some suspicious footsteps coming from upstairs, but this is where the clichées end in what becomes a surprisingly unorthodox approach to the genre, and becomes the reason why it’s so easy to warm to this film.
From a narrative perspective You’re Next does follow many of the classic trappings of home invasion horrors. We have the pretty lead heroine, who is spending a weekend away with her in-laws. In this unfamiliar environment, she is seemingly vulnerable yet all isn’t as it seems, played very convincingly by Sharni Vinson, keen to prove Step Up 3 isn’t where her talents end.
There is also some really lovely chemistry between the supporting cast in a familiar family fall out over dinner before things turn really nasty. When they do, the chemistry stays in place, and much of the dialogue is so well written it feels improvised. Coupled with unflinching back to basics gore, the film really comes into its own after the slightly over-long but necessary set up of the protagonists.
When the invasion begins, character subtlety does take a back seat to window smashing and screams, but this is exactly what we came for. This candid style is actually the film’s greatest strength and weakness, whilst it is an ambitious departure for the genre it does remain faithf ul to it. Encouragingly what we’re left with is a film which is smart enough to know the parts of it which aren’t so smart. We’ll look forward to more from this promising team.