When I saw You’re Next back in 2011 at Fantastic Fest, I had to fight tooth & nail to see it. I ended up getting a seat at the end of the aisle on a folded chair and thought to myself that this better be worth it. We were the only American audience to see it and I have now seen the film twice after almost 2 years of waiting. I asked myself if it still held up or if it was as good as I remembered it.
A group of siblings along with their respective companions go out to a isolated house in the middle of the woods to join their mother & father to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. Amongst the sibling bickering at a dinner table, the guests & family come under attack my unknown assailants. It is up to the family to band together and fight back.
The less said about the film’s plot and its characters the better as You’re Next is a film that turns a lot of the horror tropes upside down. That’s not to say that it is not a horror film though, it is one of the finest blends of horror and comedy. After seeing this film mulitple times with different audiences, I feel that it works so well because it not only speaks to the horror fiends but also the mainstream audiences as well. Simon Barrett’s script addresses every angle towards the film. It brings out nostalgic feelings with horror fans by having cult actor Barbara Crampton as the mother of the family as well as utilizing a 80′s-esque synth score and a scene that makes us remember the iconic finale setup of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. Meanwhile, the film makes the characters identifiable by having them be comedic. Mostly everyone is familiar with sibling rivalry, either on first hand or experiencing it in person. Director Adam Wingard’s handling of the camera with mainly handheld shots lends a realistic feel to the film, but there are times where you wish the camera would back up a little bit. With this handheld technique, you feel like you know this family and you feel that you are there with them. The film teeters a fine line of the characters feeling realistic and using particular stereotypes in genre cinema. Either way, the characters are identifiable and are perfectly scripted.
Without giving too much away, it is pretty sure a guarantee that you will love the character of Erin played by Sharni Vinson. She is sweet, innocent but once shit hits the fan, she knows what to do and when to do it. She is a badass persona and it is amazing to see on screen. She does everything that the audience wants her to do. In a way, Erin is the audience. She is the girlfriend of Crispin, played by AJ Bowen, and is one of the few characters that are meeting the family for the first time. While the film takes a perspective of an observant, the majority of the film is how Erin deals with what is happening.
You’re Next may sour some horror fans by the time the end credits role because it is not a straightforward horror film. It has its tongue firmly set in cheek, much like 2011′s The Cabin in the Woods (which coincidentally came out the same year You’re Next premiered). It is a film you experience, much like an amusement ride. It has scary parts but for the most part, the film definitely feels more as a commentary of the genre and its character archetypes. What makes it great though is the fact that it provides said commentary while making sure the audience identifies with the characters and cares for them.
I loved the film and after waiting 2 years, I still think it is one of the better genre films in the past few years. For those of you that love it, you cannot wait to watch it again.