Director: Adam Wingard, Screenwriter: Simon Barrett
A fresh twist on home-invasion horror. A gang of masked murderers descend upon a family reunion, and the victims seem trapped…until an unlikely guest proves to be the most talented killer of all. Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg (film synopsis from sxsw.com)
WHO’S IT FOR?: Those looking for something a little different from a new, exciting voice in horror. People who aren't last.
Flashback to Fantastic Fest 2011 in Austin, You’re Next has just premiered at Toronto to the chorus of lavish praise and the buzz is huge surrounding the film. One of the screenings for Fantastic Fest was pulled after Lionsgate bought the film, so eager horror fans were left trying to get into the lone screening left on the schedule. That was the last time You’re Next screened publicly and I happened to be there joining in proclaiming it one of the most inventive and original horror properties in quite some time. Cut back to the present and it finally has a release date set for August 23, 2013 and not surprisingly was added to the SXSW “midnighters” group. Since 2011 I’ve been wondering if I’ve overhyped the film for not only others but also myself. So commences You’re Next round two and while the film definitely brings the fun, scares and violence, the effect does diminish a bit on repeat viewings.
The less you know about the movie going in, the better. The basic idea is that home invaders in cute animal masks attempt to interrupt a family gathering only to be greeted by some unexpected surprises. Blood is spilled, family ties are tested and everyone is in for one hell of a night. Director Adam Wingard has created a clever and terrifying new type of horror movie that toys with genre conventions by incorporating elements not limited to just horror. It continuously morphs into something new always keeping the audience guessing where the story will go and who will be the next to die.
The unorthodox cast featuring indie mainstays such as Bowen, Swanberg, and Ti West are thrown in with both newcomer Vinson and classic '80s actress Barbara Crampton to help create a somewhat ironic atmosphere filled with colorful characters spouting sarcastic dialogue. The supporting cast gets most of the big laughs namely from Bowen and Swanberg, but it's Vinson who steals the show right from the get go. Her Erin demands a specific amount of wit and physicality that she pulls off remarkably well. It isn’t the type of performance audiences are used to seeing in a horror movie, and will most certainly get people thinking in a different direction.
There are creative kills aplenty and many come without warning. In fact when you watch the movie for the first time, so many different rules are broken that all bets are off resulting in an experience that feels fresh and unique. Unfortunately that allure tends to wear down with each subsequent viewing and the twists cease to surprise. Nonetheless between You’re Next and 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods, fans are getting the slick, fun and more importantly original horror movies they deserve.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10
Tyler Mager currently reviews movies for CollegeMovieReview.com and comics for Gutters and Panels. He's also an aspiring screenwriter and filmmaker based out of Austin, TX. Follow him on twitter @tylermager.