21 May 2014

Review - 'You're Next' is a Hugely Entertaining Re-Vamp of the Home Invasion Sub-Genre

Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Stars: Sharni Vinson, Nicolas Tucci, AJ Browen, Wendy Glenn, Joe Swanberg
Running Time: 95 mins
Sub-Genre: Home Invasion, Thriller, Black Comedy, Slasher
Release Date: August 2013

During an anniversary weekend getaway, the Davison family whilst having a meal become under attack by a group of animal masked men, but the mysterious gang soon learn that one of victims harbors a secret talent to fight back.

You're Next is a lot of things, and one of them not being the ground-breaking home-invasion it was initially made out to be. Don't get me wrong, this is a great film, but its short of being a masterpiece and way off in terms of being "ground-breaking", there is nothing wrong with that in the slightest. With its confident approach, it knows what it is, it sticks to the conventions adding it's own personality and it works; You're Next is a well-made, tense and confident new entry into the home-invasion and slasher sub-genre's alike.

Perhaps having high hopes isn't the best way to go into You're Next, nor is knowing a lot about the film as a lot of moments may come and go without the element of surprise which were perhaps explained in the synopsis, seen in a review or in the trailers; That's what it was like for me at times, I knew what was coming, when it was coming, but other than that, it's a shocker. The element of surprise never falls short, and as the bodies start to pile the surprises get bigger and better. The explanation for the killing may not be top notch, but it's a decent reason to get the gore going, and who cares really, if it's an excuse to get people die in horrible fashions then so be it.

The gore is perhaps the best part of You're Next, and without trying to give anything away, there are a few deaths that are so great you wonder why it hasn't been done before. The blood comes in bucket fulls and the comedy comes pitch black, You're Next knows how to get the horror buffs up and involved and the casual movie fans egging the action on. It's more of a movie fans type of movie, and less of a casual film-goer flick, it's filled to the brim with nods and winks to previous horrors that established the sub-genre, and although it's quite cliched exterior may be viewed straight-up to the normal movie folk, every horror fan should be able to identify what lies beneath You're Next, and that 'more than meets the eye' exterior is something too good to spoil.

Sure, the gore and gags is a strong factor of You're Next, but what really made the film as good as it was, was the kick-ass heroine that was Erin, played by the brilliant Sharni Vinson. Erin starts off as a cute, playful character with the healthiest of personalities, but once the arrows start to fly she becomes an unstoppable fighting machine who knows exactly what to do when jammed in a horrible situation. To put it simply, she's great, so great that she may possibly be the best woman in horror of all time (behind Ripley from Alien obviously). Though the performances from Vinson, Swanberg and Tucci are top notch, some of the cast seem to struggle when presenting their characters, delivering a couple of wooden moments for their characters. In saying this, most of the cast are able to pull their weight and deliver the appropriate performance, and despite a lack of character development for some, they still do a pretty good job.

More jumpy and tense then scary and nerve-shredding, You're Next knows exactly what it is, what it wants to do and does it with complete success. Despite it's lack of fast action that was once promised by critics, it was still a hugely fun flick. Between the wacky deaths, black humor and final kitchen scene,You're Next is a massively entertaining horror film that is sure to be one of the best times at the cinema you will have all year. In fact, You're Next is all about the fun factor, and Wingard and Barrett know exactly how to make a great horror movie experience that can fit perfectly into the sub-genre whilst managing to inject a breath of fresh air into it without adjusting the rules. To put into perspective, just imagine The Strangers and Scream combined.

Battling with a Carpenter/Craven-esque feel to it, both visually and with the score, You're Next makes for a visually impressive, synthesize scored thrill ride that will get your heart racing and your pulse pounding. It does for the home-invasion sub-genre what Scream did for the slasher sub-genre, though it isn't anything we haven't seen before, it's so unbelievably fun that none of that matters by the time "You're Next" splashes up before the end credits. With the Scream vibe and the Carpenter/Tron score, this film barely misses a mark, and as a horror, especially of the slasher type, it's very rare to find. The score is absolutely phenomenal, it isn't the conventional fast-paced slasher theme that normally accompanies these type of movies, and instead is a more of an 80's synthesized score that feels as if Tron and Halloween clashed; as strange as it sounds, it's funky, fresh and surprisingly effective; so don't even get me started on 'Looking for the Magic' because believe me, you will be singing it long after the film has ended.

You're Next is everything The Purge should have been, so if you were sorely disappointed from The Purge, go and see You're Next as it will replace all that expectation you had for the thriller with a fresh slasher with killer Animal masks. I mean You're Next makes The StrangersThe Purge and even Inside look like a mediocre time at the movies, that's how good this is. The Animals, horror's next iconic killers are as vicious as one could imagine, despite the reason for their doings being watered down when it comes to it's vicious scale. Each killer has their own personality and back story which gives you a little more incite into their life, which is refreshing from the whole Myers/Freddy/Chucky routine, were the killers are just doing it for the lol's. Slight spoiler here, but the animals kind of go down without a decent fight, so a proper fight scene between the Sheep and Erin would have made this film near perfect. In saying that, those guys were pretty creepy.

The comedy comes pitch black and works in the benefit of the horror, Wingard's ability to quickly shift gear between horror and comedy is impressive, and to be able to execute a witty joke straight after a death is ingenious. One seen in particular that involves the full cast around the dinner table is great to watch and will surely make what happens next a huge U-turn in mood. The character of Drake is great when it comes to delivering the snappy humor, and the bicker between him and Crispian is funny yet slightly uncomfortable to watch. The humor remains strong until the very end, and along with the many twists and turns, guts and gore, the comedy always remained intact (especially in a particular blender scene, it was great). What can I say, You're Next made for a great time at the cinema.


You're Next is exactly the sort of horror film that needs to be seen by movie and horror buffs alike; It's scary, tense, funny and extremely fun, it knows what it is and isn't afraid to crank it up to the max for full effect.

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