Director: Adam Wingard Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg & AJ Bowen Synopsis: When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back. Runtime: 94 minutes
“This wasn’t a random attack! Our family’s being targeted.”
You’re Next has a fair bit in common with last years The Cabin In The Woods (love that film). Both were filmed and then failed to get a wide release until a few years later, You’re Next was shot in 2011, both have a hot young Australian actor to their name and both broke the rules of the horror genre. Now, while You’re Next may not be the scariest horror movie ever, it’s still rammed full of laughs, blood, clever kills and nods to the genre to satisfy any horror fan.
The setup for You’re Next is a fairly simple one, the Davison family & their respective other halves are embarking on a reunion deep in the American countryside when they suddenly become the victims of a home invasion. The film that ensues is like a cross between The Strangers & The Purge, but the difference is that You’re Next is actually very good. As You’re Next is willing to bend and break some rules of the genre, there are some things you won’t see coming, and some of the plot twists are very well done.
The Davison’s are a dysfunctional bunch, that much is clear from the start, and their reunion seems forced upon them rather than being something they all wanted to do. As we go through the motions of meeting the different characters, we soon learn which are likely to survive the longest and which we want to die first.
Sharni Vinson’s Erin is by far the strongest in the movie and shows a versatility we may not have seen in her previous movies Blue Crush 2 & Step Up 3D. She has come a long way since Home & Away, and I sincerely hope this movie leads to bigger and better things for her now. AJ Bowen plays Erin’s boyfriend and family member Crispian, a chubby but loveable guy who shares some tension with his siblings but mostly with his older brother Drake, played by Joe Swanberg. Drake is a bit of a smarmy git who thinks he is better than everyone else and isn’t afraid to let you know it. The remaining siblings are played by Nicholas Tucci (Felix) and Amy Seimetz (Aimee) who have varying degrees of impact on the audience.
Once the setup is finished and we have gotten to know the characters a little, the kills start to come thick and fast. All are brutal, and while some are fairly by the book there seems to a uniqueness to them in the way there are executed. A lack of CGI throughout the film is also a welcome bonus and gives an extra kick to some of the scenes. There is also one particular use of a blender which I had never thought of before. Whilst the humour doesn’t hit every note, it remains funny yet never hilarious which a fine line in horror films and stops it from falling into parody, especially when you don’t want to sacrifice laughs for tension.
One thing that normally doesn’t stick out to me in films anymore is the use of music and a good soundtrack. Yes, some films do make a good use of music but too often these days the soundtrack or score feels largely unforgettable. That is not the case with You’re Next, and once you hear Looking For The Magic I guarantee you will not be able to get the beat out of your head. The score is also notable once it turns into an 80’s synth tribute to 80’s horror movies & comes across as very John Carpenter in style.
There is only one way for this movie to end, and that is in absolute bloodshed. There is no quarter given, and the audience, much like the Davison family, feels like it has been on an emotional roller coaster, laughing one minute then being shocked & distraught by what we have seen the next. Clearly a sequel is not on the cards, and frankly this is something I am glad of. You’re Next deserves to be considered one of the best horror films in years and should be finding its way into any movie buffs collection.
In summary: You’re Next is one of the best horror films of the year, and contains enough neat tricks and clever kills to satisfy genre and casual fans alike.