If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately (let’s just pretend, for my ego’s sake – shall we?), aside from my usual holiday-related absences – I just haven’t found that much to write about in the horror movie world lately. Sure, there’s been a few quality blips on the radar here & there – but for the most part it felt as though the horror machine might be over-hyping things which were mostly just so-so.
For example – people keep falling all over themselves to praise foreign indies Hidden in the Woods and Aftershock. While both are highly worthy of praise for their quality with limited budgets and means . . . c’mon now, let’s be real. They’re bargain-basement B movies at best, and misogynist drivel masquerading as pro-women at worst (arguments could be made either way – but with victimization sans comeuppance being a pretty big underscore for both, this writer honestly couldn’t be bothered to promote them any further).
With that being said, it’s with great joy and much fanfare that I bring you: You’re Next, the latest from the troupe of professional horror-making friends Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Ti West and their usual partners in crime (yes, Amy Seimetz is here too). Originally shown in film festivals in 2011, the reviews & accolades continued to add up for the film – so Lionsgate released it wide to theaters last August. If you read our site regularly, you’re probably already aware that I’m a fan of these guys and their style of film-making sometimes referred to as “mumblecore”. It’s a naturalistic way of telling a story – think: Anti Michael Bay; it lends a super-creepy vibe to most everything that they’ve been a part of. You’re Next is no different in that respect.
Except that it plays with those anti-expectations and goes absolutely nuts. If I’m being vague here, it’s for a good reason. I don’t want to give any of this away – the thrill of the ride with You’re Next is more than half of the fun. What I can tell you – and you can clearly see from the trailer above – is that it concerns the wealthy, bickering Davidson Family gathering for their parent’s small 35th wedding anniversary party in a secluded home . . . as well as the unwanted guests who violently crash it wearing cheap, pale animal masks.
Bear with the first 30 or so minutes of the movie, if you’re not a fan of slow starts. It’s going to feel like you’ve seen this all before (The Strangers, anyone?), but trust me – you haven’t. In the space of a few moments, You’re Next shocked me out of my horror malaise, causing me to spend the last 60 minutes alternately clutching my favorite kaiju plushie, screaming in terror, and squealing with riotous laughter.
Dare I say – horror films haven’t given us a heroine quite like this one before. Sharni Vinson‘s Erin is exciting, bar-raising, and outrageous in all of the best ways – she’s no Final Girl but you have to see this to understand why. Before the film was even finished, my mind raced with the effect her existence could have across the genre and how we might want to rethink that entire “Final Girl” trope.
Because DAMN, people. Hot DAMN!
Is Erin all that’s good about You’re Next? Hell to the no. It’s beautifully filmed with creative camerawork throughout, well-acted in the natural this-is-actually-how-people-talk kind of way, twisty and surprising from about that 60 point mark on, and violent as fuck without being over the top in its gore. If anything, You’re Next feels much more bloody than it actually is – but make no mistake, this is a violent son of a bish.
So what are you waiting for? You don’t need an invitation to this quiet get-together. While it’s not on Netflix just yet, You’re Next is out on Redbox, Amazon Instant, and other online streaming sites. Or you could just go ahead and buy this sucker, because it’s a worthy addition to your collection.