Genre: Horror, Comedy, Thriller
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Nicholas Tucci
You’re Next has been a long time coming, premiering all the way back at festivals in 2011, it has only now been granted wide release over here and in the US. Has it been worth the wait? Short answer, YES. Let me repeat that. YES!
The premise is simple. A dysfunctional family, full of sibling rivalries and blatant enmity, gather at their remote, big ol’ mansion in the middle of nowhere to celebrate their parents’ anniversary. Unbeknownst to them, there are psychotic killers in animal masks on the loose, locked and crossbow loaded, preparing to attack. What follows is a superbly fun one-location action horror film; a gory, visceral thrill-ride that also manages to be incredibly funny. Slow motion, for instance, is used to great comedic effect on more than one occasion.
Don’t misunderstand though; this isn’t in the vein of Scary Movie. This film manages to take many of the clichés that have bogged down the genre in recent years, shove them out a three story window and create something fresh and exciting. The death scenes are inventive, and the characters’ reactions to the mayhem are both gloriously over-the-top and entirely realistic. It’s great to see characters who know when and when not to go run down and hide in a basement. What’s more, You’re Next has an asskicking heroine in the form of Erin (Sharni Vinson), the Aussie girlfriend of middle child Crispian (A.J. Bowen), who reveals mysteriously awesome talents for fighting back against the family’s assailants.
In terms of the cast assembled for this flick, prominent indie darling and Brit Marling lookalike Amy Seimetz (2013’s Upstream Colour) has fun as the overly enthusiastic sister, whilst mumblecore king Joe Swanberg succeeds in the role of dickish elder brother, Drake. The real star here however is Vinson, who has the incredibly-gorgeous-girl-next-door quality down pat, showing off some badass survival skills in the midst of this home invasion terror that would put Sydney Prescott to shame. There’s a bit of Ripley-esque swagger going on for sure. Not wanting to give too much away, but you’ll leave the cinema wishing there were more onscreen characters like her, male or female.
But this movie isn’t perfect. Some scenes appear unnecessary, the opening scene veers into the generic, which could put some people off early on, and certain characters appear rather superfluous (even within the limited cast – I’m looking at you, Zee). All in all though, this film has exhilarating set pieces, a compelling leading lady, a cracking final scene and a truly ingenious manner of creating twists where you least expect them. This is a highly entertaining siege slasher fest that only slightly underwhelms, but wins out anyway by giving you plenty of reason to cheer…although you may never look at a meat tenderizer the same way again.