The “home invasion” sub-genre has had a kind of a resurgence over the past few years. It makes sense. What’s scarier than being blind sided by intruders while you’re relaxing at home, or on vacation? How often do you really think about having to deal with this type of situation? I know it’s not at the forefront of my mind while I’m “chillaxing” on my couch, searching through Netflix before becoming overwhelmed by options and ultimately deciding to just watch something I’ve seen a billion times before. Yeah, barely think about it at all. I mean, I know there are folks out there(Or over here, I suppose.) that think about this kind of stuff obsessively, but they can kind of be a drag to be around. Personal safety and, as an extension, the safety of your home are definitely important things to consider, but like I said, how often do actually do it? It’s only when we hear about some terrible news story that we think about it, and even then only for upwards of a day or so, because hey, someone just posted a video of an adorable squirrel dancing(Multitasking, just like good grades, etiquette and common courtesy, is for squares!). So, we think about it, and say things like, “Hmmm. Maybe, I should get some type of security system, a dog, or maybe a shotgun! Like, with two barrels! They look bad ass, and I’m a bad ass. So… Yeah, that settles it,” but you never end up actually doing any of those things. It’s nice to think about, though.
The “home invasion” trope has been around for awhile, and it’s been used to different effect. Sometimes, it shows up in movies that are thrillers in nature(Panic Room, Law Abiding Citizen, Straw Dogs). Sometimes, it even shows up in comedies(Home Alone, The Ref), but the most common use of the sub-genre is in horror flicks. Like I said, over the past few years there seems to be a resurgence of these type of movies. It has worked better in some than others. The Strangers(A pretty underrated movie, in my opinion. It’s simple, short, and effective.), Funny Games, and Halloween being positive examples, and the re-make of Black Christmas, and Vacancy being a bad ones. I can’t help but think that this stuff has become more prevalent as the idea of “personal protection” becomes more part of our cultural zeitgeist, but this is more of just a side observation. It is smart, though, from a business perspective, because, ultimately, that’s what marketing does. It preys on our wants, desires, needs, and most especially, our fears. So, maybe that’s why we’re starting to see this trope becoming more common at the movies. You can only make so many zombie movies, and now that we’re over the “world wide epidemic” thing it makes sense.
Considering the use of this sub-genre in horror movies, it may be the most appropriate use of the term “horror.” It’s a truly terrifying, and dread inducing concept. I know that there’s someone out there that actually did buy that shotgun whose all like, “Haha, not me, mother trucker! Not me! I’m R-E-A-D-Y! Ready, baby! Whooo,” but for most of us it’s still scary. Mostly, because the way the movies posit the situation. There is no way to really be prepared for it. Regardless of forward thinking preparedness. They are often just sickos that are relentless, and even maiming, or killing one them, doesn’t deter. Also, masks. A good mask can make be really unsettling. Not only are these attackers trying to kill, but they’ve effectively dehumanized themselves, and appear more as some type of monster to an extent. Sure, we know that it’s just a person under the mask, but our sub-conscience starts attributing things to them that- probably more imagined than real- make them more terrifying than they could ever actually be. The fact that their faces are just a frozen image makes them seem even more oppressive and emotionless. They becomes manifestations of our fears, because they could be anyone, or anything. Speaking of creepy mask wearing intruders…
I really love the trailer for You’re Next. I don’t know how representative of the finished film it is, but it’s really effective. I especially like the use of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day. I know that juxtaposing a melancholy song with moments of brutality is an over used, and has become some what groan inducing, but dammit I really love it here. It even seems kind of appropriate considering the lyrics “You just keep me hanging on,” and “You’re going to reap just what you sow.” That second one might not have any bearing at all, but I’d like to think the song use is more than just a stunt, and maybe speaks on a thematic level about the flick. Who knows, though. Either way, I dig it.
Also, back to the whole “creepy mask” thing, the use of animal masks is down right disconcerting. I’ve never been so put off by the face of a lamb. This might work on me a little more than others considering the fact that I was raised Catholic, and this kind of animal imagery is used all the time(And let me tell you, it’s always been god damn creepy.). So, maybe it’s just me.
It definitely seems like You’re Next is dealing in some well worn aspects of these types of movies, but it seems really well made. It even hints at an actual plot beyond it’s basic premise of “Family goes on dream vacation. Family gets attacked for seemingly no reason. Everyone dies. Ambiguity ensues. Cut to black.” I don’t automatically have a problem with that, but the implication of there being something more definitely has me intrigued.
It also looks to be a pretty brutal affair. I find that sometimes these movies can lean too heavily on that stuff, but it looks pretty effective here. I assume it could be a tough balance to find for film makers, but just being overly violent doesn’t always equal effective. Again, the trailer purports a good balance.
Also, just as a small side thing, the person who I assume is playing the father is Rob Moran, a staple of movies made by the Farrelly Brothers. For some reason this kind of made me laugh. I know that he does other stuff, but whenever I see him I just think about one of the smarmy assholes he’s played. I don’t know, it just made me giggle for a second. I also noticed director Ti West(The Innkeepers, House of the Devil) in there. He seems like he’s going to be the first to die, and is probably more of a cameo.
Anyways, I’m looking forward to this movie. Seems like the perfect antidote for an other wise over blown spectacle littered summer movie landscape. You know, I think I wrote this just so I would remember that it’s coming out soon. I periodically check this thing, so, I guess this is just a really long personal memo, but if someone happens to stumble across it that’s good too. Honestly, though, it’s more about me. To quote Jon from Delocated season three, “Oh my god, it’s about me. MEEEE! IT’S ABOUT MEEEE!”