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 by LionsGate at SXSW for a wide theatrical release. Unfortunately, the flick ended up being a commercial failure – taking in much less than expected at the box office. I suspect that it may have simply gotten overlooked among the barrage of home invasion thrillers released during the early 2010s. The film’s commercial failure is disappointing because it is a well-made flick and vastly superior to the glut of home invasion flicks that saw release in the wake of The Purge. Perhaps the silver lining is that horror fans that missed the film in theatres have embraced its merits on home video.
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. The Davison family is being targeted by a gang of bloodthirsty home invaders. But what the masked hoodlums aren’t counting on is Erin (Sharni Vinson of Patrick: Evil Awakens). Erin is the girlfriend of of one of the Davison children with some seriously impressive survivalist skills.
The recap above really doesn’t do justice to the genius that is Simon Barrett’s screenplay. The film’s script delivers the goods with great dialogue, unique characters, and pulse-pounding action from start to finish.
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 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