When the estranged Davidson family come together for 25th anniversary of their parents in their remote family mansion, they fall prey to a group of assailants wearing animal masks whose sole intent is to see that none of them survive. What the attackers don’t count on is the arrival of one particular houseguest (Sharni Vinson, Step Up) with a very specific set of skills and what was intended to be a routine massacre turns out deadly, on their part.
Helmed by the team behind the Quack episode of the ABCs of Death, I knew I was going to be in for a fun ride, watching You’re Next. Aside from the raves that it received despite its late release, (the movie was completed in 2011 but was only shown in 2013), director/editor Adam Wingard and his partner in crime, writer Simon Barett, are known by their cool approach to movies and You’re Next is no exception. From the opening sequences up to the end, there is no shortage of shocks, scares that transcends the level of even the scariest home invasion horrors.
What’s great about You’re Next is that despite its stereotypical presentation of a rich family — a typical mother and father who want their kids to get along, an asshole big brother, a tormented middle son, the bubbly princess, a troubled youngest son and their significant others — there is a real effort to establish a connection between the Davidson family and the audience before the carnage begins. This is the reason that when the house come under fire, audiences understand the characters and more or less get the idea why they act as smartly or stupidly as they do. Prompted by competition, dislike or whatever emotion, when they make the typical mistakes that characters in horror movies fall for, there is always something at the end of the scene that is innovative and out of the box.
Being a home invasion horror, I appreciated the creative death scenes that Wingard and Barett cooked up. There was no end to the possibilities for kitchen equipment in this movie. Sharni Vinson as the lead actress was a perfect casting because of her marvelous athleticism that enabled her to pull off the scenes so flawlessly. She is super believable as the only person in the movie with a lick of sense and for the film to center around her Mcgyver ways made for an entertaining 95 minutes. Some of her antics even reminded me of Macauley Culkin in Home Alone, only her results were slightly less comedic but infinitely more macabre.
The story was also very intelligently written and didn’t give the twist out right away, giving the revelations much more of an impact in strategically integrated parts of the movie. And the terror that the possibility of such a thing happening and how easily it could happen to your own family on vacation is mind boggling, which added to the impact of each death. The throwback scoring to horror movie past was also a great way to set the tone for the stalking.
All in all, You’re Next is one of the best home invasion horrors I’ve seen in a while. While some horrors scare the beejezus out of their audience by being overly intense and serious, this film’s balance of humor and its overall creativity kicked serious a*s that made it miles above the rest. And to think that it was only accomplished on a budget of $1 million. The film was totally unexpected and awesome, and I for one, loved it.