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Subverting the Home Invasion Film: The Dark Joy of ‘You’re Next’

There’s a genre “blender” joke in there somewhere.
YouRe Next
By  · Published on May 28th, 2021

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at how the 2011 slasher You’re Next re-imagined the home invasion subgenre.

The horror genre deserves major points for not taking itself too seriously. Or, at the very least, for consistently dissecting and subverting the conventions and rules that constitute its many subgenres. The Scream franchise takes hilariously astute potshots at slasher films. Tucker and Dale vs Evil brings a table-turning sweetness to hillbilly horror. And 2014’s The Editor is a comedic love letter to the giallo genre.

Home invasion films tend to be tense, uncomfortable watches. Being attacked in your own home is a real, grounded threat. A danger and disempowerment based not on ghouls, demons, or undead hordes, but on sadistic human beings. This is a subgenre made up of squirm-inducing offerings like Straw Dogs (1971), When a Stranger Calls (1979), Them (2006), Inside (2007), and Hush (2016). But in 2011, Adam Wingard delivered a twist on the format that was not only horrifying but damn fun: You’re Next.

The film concerns the wealthy yet dysfunctional Davison family, who are attacked by three crossbow-wielding masked men during a reconciliatory weekend getaway. As the Davisons are picked off one by one during the assault, Erin, a significant other of one of the Davison children, reveals an uncanny talent for survival and ass-kicking, and a propensity for improvised home security that would make Kevin McCallister proud.

The video essay below unpacks You’re Next‘s place within the home invasion landscape, from its deliberate tonal shift to its dark sense of slapstick comedy. Fair warning: the video essay spoils You’re Next‘s twists and turns, so proceed with caution:

Watch “How YOU’RE NEXT Reimagined Home Invasion Horror“:

Who made this?

This video on You’re Next is by Ryan Hollinger, a Northern Irish video essayist who specializes in horror films. Hollinger’s analysis usually takes the shape of a personal retrospective. Indulging in a healthy dose of nostalgia, Hollinger’s videos are contagiously endearing, entertaining, and informative. You can also check out Hollinger’s podcast The Carryout on SoundCloud here. And you can subscribe to Hollinger’s YouTube account here.

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Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.