The slasher film has been a hearty lynchpin of horror over the years but also the victim of its own undoing following the mid-nineties. Its pop cultural dissection in the Scream trilogy and the royal ribbing from the Scary Movie franchise floored the sub-genre in terms hope for a reputable comeback, despite elements appearing in the Saw and Hostel films during the noughties.
Arguably spawned from Peeping Tom and Psycho, slasher films blossomed in the late 70s with Black Christmas and John Carpenter’s Halloween then evolved into a staple of 80s video culture with the Friday 13th and Elm St movies. After lying predominantly dormant for the better part of a decade, bar the odd straight to DVD release, the sub-genre has been due a resurgence following a decade of zombie movies and found footage horrors. Now with the arrival of this month’s You’re Next, the slasher has finally returned with a vengeance.
Incorporating elements of the home invasion films of the 70s like Last House On The Left and Fight For Your Life, You’re Next is brutal, non-patronising and wildly entertaining throwback to the heyday of grubby exploitation horrors. Hijacking traits, respectfully from the better, more rugged films of the era, it plays against audience expectations and uses our familiarity with the sub-genre, and the lessons learned from the Scream films, to its advantage.
Best viewed without any prior narrative knowledge, which is hard in an age of online leaking, You’re Next focuses on a family gathering in an isolated location and is riddled with enough sub-plots and character developments to stack out two hours let alone a gnarly 95 minutes. It works well as a tense, psychological thriller as well as a slice and dice slasher and you don’t have to be a horror fan to enjoy it. The punchy narrative, original set-pieces and shock value are skilfully executed by director Adam Wingard (A Lonely Place To Die, VHS) and sure to enthral.
The element of surprise and fear of the unknown are where most of the scares generate, but fantastic plot twists will keep the audience on seat edges throughout. Performances aren’t always up to scratch but you can turn a blind eye for the sake of the nail biting story coupled with some excellent effects and a fantastic (John) Carpenteresque soundtrack that pulses throughout like a mad man’s heartbeat.
You’re Next is a feverish, manic beast of a horror and everything one could have hoped for from a modern day slasher. While perfecting a balance of humour and terror not seen since An American Werewolf In London it also incorporates more naturalistic elements into a type of film that has been hard to take seriously for a long time now. You’re Next is a stand out in a sub-genre rife for revival and a benchmark for fans. Enjoy it on the big screen while it’s raw and unchartered.
You’re Next is release in cinemas on 28th August