You're Next Film Review
After Two Years, We're Finally Next
You're Next originally debuted back in 2011 and was met with great acclaim. However, it's taken two years for this movie to finally see a wide release. Many film festival horror darlings fall victim to being over-hyped long before it's release. You're Next was no different in the hype machine. Everyone who saw it sang it's praises and the word of mouth was outrageous, but does the actual film live up to all the lofty expectations it's viewers have bestowed upon it?
The Hunters Are Coming
The film opens with an exceptional opening scene. For many horror films, they can be made or broken by how it starts. The opening scene has to hook you and set you up for what we are going to be expecting for the next 90 plus minutes. The opening kill is full of tension and fancy camera work. Wo don't know who the victims are or what their story is, but it doesn't matter. The tension is thick and you are invested. It's clear from the very beginning; this is a movie by horror fans for horror fans.
If the genre doesn't have a soft spot in your heart, the rest of the movie will feel terribly drawn out. The movie is full of winks and nods to past horror movies and even the cast itself is a swan song to horror. As we begin to meet the Davison Family, it's clear we aren't exactly supposed to like these people. Most of them are incredibly annoying and grating. But, Erin isn't in the family. She is the new girlfriend to Crispian, the son most unexcited about this reunion. Erin is a seemingly sweet and innocent young girl, just trying to fit in.
The movie starts out sharp with dark humor littered through every scene. With the family together, the insults start flying, but in a slick, back-handed sort of way. The children of the Davison family don't seem to really get along with each other. If they do, it's never shown. The parents, the mother played by horror vet, Barbara Crampton, are the only ones who show any affection towards anyone. Very quickly, their reunion dinner is flipped upside down when an arrow flies through a window and into a person's head. This scene is the epitome of the dark humor to found here when they barely notice at first that someone is dead.
The film rapidly descends into survival horror as Erin takes charge. This girl ends up being totally different from the girl we first met. She is hard-nosed and tough. It's funny how much you can overlook when you have an attractive, tough as nails girl beating the crap out of goons in animal masks. Because really, you need to just sit back and enjoy the ride with this film. The story does no favors in making it anything original. The characters are all cliched stereotypes of horror archetypes. Erin is the only character with any sort of depth or any backstory revealed, which may have only been to serve the purpose of the character not being just a female Rambo.
The Hunters are somewhat scary at times. Sure, they are wearing animal masks of bunnies or sheep, but the lighting on them is what makes them creep in to frame in a startling manner. However, once the twist of the film is revealed, it devolves simply into normal people trying to kill other normal people. These guys aren't Michael Myers of Jason Voorhees; they're just some guys in masks. You can hurt them, and wow, does Erin hurt them.
The ending is quite exciting and finally pays off a ticking clock, you as an audience member will be waiting for all movie.
Sharni Vinson Shines
While the vast majority of the cast isn't anything to be excited about; Barbara Crampton is fun to see in horror again, the rest of family is very lackluster. Sharni Vinson is the star of the show and turns performance that could be a fan favorite for years to come. She may have cemented herself in the horror community as a heroine to be reckoned with. As it was in the theatre I was seated in, the audience was clapping and cheering her on throughout. With every strike or kill, the crowd would get excited. This is a movie that will obviously be much, much better with a crowd. Watching it alone will do nothing to endear the film to you. It's a midnight movie to enjoy with friends and some pizza.
Part of what makes You're Next fun is the gore. It doesn't shy away from showing the violence and once the hammer starts swinging, it doesn't stop after two strikes. The walls are painted red with blood, literally. The dead scenes aren't pretty or glorified, they are brutal. No one ever seems to die easily.
The film features several scene of throats being cut, and they are some of the most uneasy death scenes I've seen. You see these characters suffer when they die, it's just a shame that we don't actually care about any of them. Erin and her prowess makes you long for an R-rated version of Home Alone; maybe that's part of what this film was. With the traps she rigs and the way she is one step ahead allows her to always land on her feet. She also delivers one of the best lines of the movie during the climax.
Should You Be Next To See It?
Overall, it's hard to judge this film properly. It's horror film that horror fans will love and get a ton out of. But the general filmgoer with no deep connection to the genre with likely care. It's a fun movie to throw on and enjoy with your friends or a crowded theatre. If you're watching it alone, you'll really wonder what the big deal is. You're Next stands out as a quality home invasion film that shakes up the typical formula. The dark humor and sharp wit separates it from films like The Strangers or Inside. And while those films were legitimately scary, You're Next is more concerned with entertaining you than just sending shivers down your spine.