Are you in there mood for insane violence, pitch black comedy, excellent setup and payoff, truly chilly horror and a fantastic heroine? Then You’re Next is the movie for you.
Released in 2011, You’re Next is a darkly comic take on the slasher genre. It follows a family that has gathered at a remote estate house to celebrate the parents anniversary. The siblings are bickering and snide with one another. The parents are filthy rich and clearly play favorites. Old resentments are reaching a boiling point and caught in the middle is Erin, played by Sharni Vinson. She is the young girlfriend of Crispian, played by A.J. Bowen, the put upon younger brother and everyones favorite punching bag. Erin is meeting the family for the first times and things could not go more wrong.
At dinner, Crispian’s older brother Drake, played to sneering perfection by Joe Swanberg, starts picking at his younger brother. Soon the whole family is embroiled in a heated argument. Suddenly, their fight is broken by an assault from outside. The family is under attack by unknown assailants. These assailants wear white animal masks that are instantly iconic. Wonderfully creepy design.
As the family panics it is Erin who steps up with her cool head and clear vision for survival. As the entire family dissolves into bickering and sniping at one another, Erin locks the windows and gathers weapons. This is why I love this movie. We have a slasher movie with a capable heroine. Someone with the presence of mind to lock the doors and windows and arm themselves. She suggests gathering in the safest room and waiting out the attackers. She makes mistakes and not everything she tries works, but she has the forethought to take practical steps to ensure her survival. I love this. It’s so refreshing to see in a horror movie.
That practicality is coupled with a family that can’t stop arguing. It’s so funny. People are dying and they are arguing about how they never feel supported by their siblings. The family bickering is absolutely hilarious because it comes from a very true place. These characters remain true to themselves and that’s just so funny in this situation. These are spoiled entitled brats who are now faced with the most horrendous situation imaginable. Who care’s who dad’s favorite is? They’re coming to kill us! I love it.
The film is not only comic, but incredibly frightening. There are some wonderful jump scares in this movie. They are well set up, and perfectly executed. I also love how the film utilizes the entire frame to build suspense as characters appear in the background or the foreground to amazing effect. This is a very intense horror film as well as being a darkly comic one.
The movie is also incredibly violent. It’s extremely bloody, and the gore is cranked up to eleven. I’m going to get into a few spoilers here, so beware. As family members are killed off, the manner in which they are killed escalates. The first death is a crossbow bolt to the head, by the end there are knives in eye sockets and a blender jammed into someone’s skull before being turned on. It is extreme, but it is also wildly entertaining. It sounds horrible, but the blender moment is so over the top and insane it crosses over into comedy territory albeit very dark humor. There is a moment when a character stabs another multiple times because the victim won’t die, and the character exclaims, “Would you just die? Can’t you see this is hard enough for me?” Absolutely horrible, but absolutely funny if you’re tuned to that kind of dark humor. If that’s not for you, please avoid this movie. You will hate it.
I love this movie. It has a wonderful heroine who is capable and powerful. It is genuinely scary throughout. The violence is well shot and really well edited for maximum impact. The characters are well drawn and perfectly acted across the board. The film sets up items and situations that all payoff by the end of the movie. It’s smartly written and wonderfully directed. I’m all for this movie, but I understand it might not be for everyone. The violence will turn people off. The tonal shifts might not work for some. That said, if you give it a chance and get on its page it’ll be a fantastic ride.
It’s one hundred percent my cup of tea. A+