Horror Review: ‘You’re Next’ (2013)
The Davison family is gathering together for a family reunion, when three masked strangers break up the reunion to wreak their own party, one that has a lot more blood and gore…but what the killers don’t know is that one of the sons brought home his girlfriend and she is more deadly than the killers…let the games begin!
To say the road to see You’re Next was a long one would be an understatement. I first heard of the film way back in 2011 when it did the film festival rounds and was met with rave reviews. I knew I had to see it. For two years I was reading reviews, but the movie never got a release until no. And was it worth the wait? Yes, yes, and a thousand times YES!!!
You’re Next starts out as your basic home invasion film by setting up the characters and the situation in a secluded setting and then let everything rip. But unlike most home invasion films, this one doesn’t deal with torture, rape, or psychological damage…instead it is about gore, fun, and scares! In fact You’re Next is a slasher film, and it feels so good to say that! I don’t remember the last time a good old-fashioned slasher film hit the big screen, but if this film means anything maybe the slasher subgenre isn’t dead after all!
The film had a great retro 80’s vibe from the opening scene, to the fun deaths, to the chase scenes (YES!!!) which established the fun tone of the film. While the movie was scary (quite scary in fact) and incredibly suspenseful, it was also lots of fun. Some scenes were even downright hilarious. Usually non-stop bickering in movies annoy me, but in this film it worked in that it develops the family further but also comes off rather hilarious. I was surprised at how attached I got to the family. I found them to be an affable group as they felt and fought like a real family. When one of them bought it, I felt it!
You’re Next was utterly brilliant in it’s simplicity. It doesn’t take a lot to make a great slasher film. It didn’t really bring anything new to the subgenre but like the recent The Conjuring, it spun a familiar web but did it so well I didn’t give a damn that a lot of this I’d seen before. I was too busy having a great time being scared. The animal masks were a very creepy touch as it added to the sinister factor of the killers and I thought it was rather nifty how they didn’t use modern technology. They used crossbows and axes. Interesting choice, especially considering that the patriarch of the family deals in the marketing of weapons.
Behind good characters you need good actors and honestly you could not have asked for a better cast. Everyone was on the ball and likable with some of my favorites being AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg. I loved their characters and they both made me laugh. It was incredibly swell to see Barbara Crampton again, as I’m a huge fan of the actress and I hope this means she’ll do more horror films. She hasn’t lost her talent and she still looks mighty good. But in the end this is Sharni Vinson’s movie. Vinson stole every scene she was in and made the movie hers. She was utterly brilliant and gave the film her all. You can tell she loved the character and that she got beaten up. I heard the girl did almost all of her own stunts. From what I saw this actress could be the next scream queen and I’m really looking forward to the Patrick remake, to see her do more horror. Hands down one of my favorite performances this year!
It would be a disservice to go on with this review and not mention the character of Erin, who Sharni Vinson plays. I have an obsession with a great final girl and while there have been some good ones over the last few years, none stand out like Erin does. You’re Next’s Erin is THE best final girl in years, and I would argue that she is the best final girl since Sidney Prescott in the original Scream. Yeah, she’s THAT damn good. Her character is well developed, likable, relatable, and even somewhat adorable. But she is badass, deadly, and incredibly intelligent. Erin was always thinking and her survival techniques are one for the blood books! I’m all about the way she uses a blender, which you have to see to believe.
Now the film wouldn’t have worked so well without Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett either. This movie is their baby and it showed how much love they put into making this film. Wingard’s directing was fantastic and completely reeled me into the film deeper. Wingard shot the film beautifully and he really took advantage of his surroundings. Some of his camera angles were brilliant and the way he shot the house made it seem incredibly claustrophobic and frightening. His staging of the big set pieces was masterful, especially with how some of them took place in such intimate and confined areas!
Along with that, Barrett’s script was brilliant, witty, and quite hilarious. I couldn’t get enough of his dialogue. Wingard and Barrett know terror and they will be a force in the world of horror. You also get an amazing music score that really added to the 80’s slasher vibe the film gave off (and THAT I must own) and in the end you have a slasher to be reckoned with. Any flaws? Not really. I do feel the pacing between the first few victims could have been spaced out better as the pacing felt really fast. I also wish some characters got a bit more development (such as Aimee and Kelly who both kind of end up just being “there”). Honestly these flaws are so minor they didn’t bother me. It’s been a while since I saw a slasher film THIS good, and it felt amazing! You’re Next is destined to be the next big classic!