One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, YOU'RE NEXT
reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twistÂ on home-invasion horror. When a gangÂ of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped...until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all.
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After this summer's The Purge
, the home invasion subgenre has nowhere to go but up. Although it has been on the festival circuit for a while, You're Next
is finally hitting theaters in mass release, just in time to save the day.
is the story of the Davison clan, a wealthy family who has gathered for a reunion of sorts at the parents' country estate. All four of the Davison children bring their significant others to the home to spend some quality time with Mom and Dad. The festivities are interrupted by a trio of animal-mask wearing, crossbow-and-axe armed hoodlums who seem bent on the random slaughter of the entire family. The Davisons are forced to fight back against their attackers. However, not all of the victims of the attack are who they seem to be; some are possessing of skills and knowledge that will help them to defend, while others are just in a better position to live through the night.
Like any innovative horror movie, You're Next
is best entered into with as little knowledge about its plot as possible for it to be enjoyed to its fullest. That's why the above synopsis may seem a little dry; it is carefully omitting of any spoilers. In reality, You're Next
is full of twists and turns that make it anything but boring and predictable. Director Adam Wingard and his filmmaking partner, writer Simon Barrett (the pair behind A Horrible Way to Die
) do a great job at keeping the audience guessing, making a film that carefully walks the line between simple horror film and genre-bending masterpiece. Just when the viewer thinks they've got it figured out, the game changes. Then changes again. And again.
takes elements of mystery and suspense, tosses them into a slasher movie, and sprinkles in well-timed instances of dark humor. Wingard and Barrett make a serious film without taking themselves too seriously; You're Next
is not exactly tongue-in-cheek, but it does present itself with a sly smirk. The cast reflects this, with members that include character actor Rob Moran (from Farrelly Brothers comedies like Me, Myself & Irene
and There's Something About Mary
), Scream Queen Barbara Crampton (from Re-Animator
and From Beyond
), and dancer/action heroine Sharni Vinson (from Step Up 3D
). Wingard also uses several of his filmmaking pals in roles, with directors Ti West (The Innkeepers
) and Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies
) both playing victims and Simon Barrett himself playing the Tiger Masked killer. The casting just adds to the subtle in-jokes that make You're Next
that much more enjoyable.
So, in summary, You're Next
should be considered essential viewing for horror fans. It's horrifying most of the time, hilarious some of the time, and just downright entertaining. And yes, there is lots of blood.
Shot mainly with handheld cameras, You're Next
is very similar in look and feel to The Strangers
. Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo (who worked with Barrett and Wingard on their segment for V/H/S
) makes liberal use of ever-so-slight camera motion that keeps the viewer just a little uncomfortable for the entire film. There are also tons of extreme close-ups, partially to show details, but also to manufacture a claustrophobic, trapped feeling in the audience. The tight shots lose their effectiveness a little during some of the quick action scenes that are peppered throughout the movie, but the resulting disorientation almost works to the film's advantage by keeping the viewer on edge. As a whole, You're
Next is a very unsettling film, thanks in big part to Palermo's photography.