You’re Next finds The Davison family reuniting for what they expect to be a peaceful family reunion. As members of the household and their spouses begin to arrive, issues from the past begin to reappear but that is the least of their problems. A gang of home invaders that seems intent upon killing anyone that gets in their way is targeting the Davison family. What the hoodlums aren’t counting on is Erin (Sharni Vinson – Patrick: Evil Awakens). Erin is the girlfriend of Crispian Davison and she has been trained as a survivalist and isn’t afraid to kick ass.
Directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett, You’re Next is an independent film success story. It was shot for a modest budget and picked up for distribution by LionsGate at SXSW Film Festival. Unfortunately, it ended up being a commercial failure – taking in much less than expected at the box office. You’re Next seems to have gotten lost in the barrage of home invasion thrillers released over the past few years. The film’s commercial failure is very disappointing because it is a well-made film and vastly superior to many of the other home invasion films it was lumped in with by moviegoers.
Simon Barrett’s screenplay delivers the goods with great dialogue, unique characters, and intense action from start to finish. Adam Wingard is responsible for working in tandem with the talented cast to deliver some of the best performances I’ve seen from a horror film in recent years.
Sharni Vinson steals the show as Erin. She is tough, not afraid to kick some ass, and sharp as a tack. Vinson’s character is an icon for female empowerment and a final girl that viewers admire and respect. The character isn’t that intensely fleshed out in the script but when Vinson brings Erin to life, she does so in a way that makes the viewer form an immediate attachment to her.
A.J. Bowen (The House of the Devil) is fantastic as Crispian and genre film fans will be pleased to see up-and-coming horror film director Ti West playing Tariq in You’re Next. It will also please fans of 1980s horror to see Barbara Crampton returning to the big screen as Mrs. Davison.
Beyond having an exceptional final girl and a great cast, the twist is the other thing that really sets You’re Next apart from countless other home invasion films. It isn’t a cheap twist that comes totally out of left field. There are some minor clues to lead the astute viewer to believe that something is amiss but once revealed, the twist is quite surprising and wickedly clever.
You’re Next is very fast paced. The film is smartly edited and uses some great camera tricks and creative scene transitions to intensify the already harrowing circumstances.
The nudity in the film is fairly minor and understated as far as horror films go. Vinson never undresses, which is wise because if she were to disrobe, it would be in conflict with the female empowerment message the film is sending.
The kills in You’re Next are brutal, graphic, and involve plenty of bloodshed. How exactly an indie film is able to pull off such elaborate death scenes on such a minuscule budget is a mystery to me but I am very impressed. The weapon most favored by the killers is the crossbow and there are some great death and injury scenes by way of the crossbow.
The home video release of You’re Next has some excellent special features. The disc includes audio commentary with cast and crew, a making of featurette, and more. If you haven’t checked out You’re Next, it is a suspenseful blend of action and horror; it boasts great performances from all parties involved; and is certainly not to be missed.
Director(s): Adam Wingard
Writer(s): Simon Barrett
Stars: Sharni Vinson, A.J. Bowen, Ti West
Studio/ Production Co: LionsGate
Budget: $1 Million
Length: 100 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Home Invasion Thriller