Feb 1 14

A fellow horror-loving friend of mine recommended I watch “You’re Next,” and suggested it was a cross between “Home Alone” and “The Strangers.” Yeah. Okay. I like my humor black, thank you.

Luckily, this flick – directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett – delivered the evil giggles. The plot isn’t anything new, since it involves a home invasion, but some “tweaking” was done, and it held my interest all the way through. I’ll even admit that a couple of times during those 96 minutes, I jumped violently enough to spill my favorite beverage.

The Davison family’s night of terror begins with a chilling message being scrawled in blood on their murdered neighbors’ wall. It’ll be their turn next, as the four siblings, and their significant others, gather at their parents’ secluded mansion to celebrate the couple’s milestone anniversary. The family is annoyingly dysfunctional, and I got a little impatient waiting for the slaughter to begin. The first arrow crashed through the dining room window and interrupted their squabbling just as I was about to hit the MUTE button on my remote.

As much as I disliked the spoiled siblings, Crispian (A.J. Bowen), Drake (Joe Swanberg), Felix (Nicholas Tucci) and Aimee (Amy Seimetz), their significant others were considerably more interesting. Well, at least the women were – Erin (Sharni Vinson), Zee (Wendy Glenn) and Kelly (Margaret Laney). Aimee’s boyfriend Tariq (Ti West) isn’t around long. I tried to feel some sympathy for the parents, Paul (Rob Moran) and Aubrey (Barbara Crampton), but then I decided they needed to pay the ultimate price for raising so many obnoxious kids.

The invaders are three men wearing animal masks (tiger/lamb/fox), because we all know that makes vicious killers more intimidating. When the gory attacks begin, so does the dark humor. Right away I started picking up on clues from the dialogue and figured out the reason behind the invasion well before the end of the film. But that was okay because I had a favorite character to root for and I wanted to see how it all played out.

Crispian is unaware of his Australian girlfriend’s survivalist upbringing, and to everyone’s surprise, Erin turns out to be one feisty little Outback sheila. She quickly takes charge of the situation, helping to protect the clueless and the undeserving. The crossbow killers are in for a bloody big challenge. And, for me, that’s what made the movie worth watching.

I like a horror film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Despite some noticeable flaws, this one provided decent acting to watch, some wicked chuckles and “gotcha” moments, and at least one cool character to care about. I even liked the Dwight Twilley music that accompanied much of the mayhem. Since the flick is definitely worth a DVD rental, I’m willing to give it three and a half goblins.