You're Next (2013)
Directed by Adam Wingard
I won't lie. I've been waiting to see this film for a while. The festival buzz was high and I've been a big fan of director of Adam Wingard for a while since his Home Sick, Pop Skull and his short film type days. After seeing VHS and VHS 2, I was a little worried Wingard's shorts were not up to par on what I knew he was capable of.
But with You're Next, Wingard steps up to the spotlight and shines brightly like his other film making brethren. You're Next shakes up the home invasion genre with well timed quips, brutality & twisty goodness. It's what I've been waiting for in a horror film all year. A film that's refreshingly creative, viciously brutal and takes its audience for a helluva ride.
I don't know what to call the V/H/S horror troupe made up of Wingard, writer Simon Barret, filmmakers Ti West and Joe Swanberg. Most of You're Next is made of collaborators and actors who been in previous Wingard films. Should we call them Horror X? Oddly this is an indie horror flick with Lion's Gate marketing. That's saying something.
You're Next does the opposite of what you think the generic home invasion movie will do. Though it introduces a goody two shoes family and a cadre of masked up bad guys it also will explain to us why this is all happening. It's because of this and not a "Because you were home" nonsensical answer that makes You're Next slickly executed and fun. Ill timed humor and some wicked kills also play a part in what is probably one of the best horror films of the year.
When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.
I've watched a lot of home invasion movies. From Them (Ils), Funny Games, The Strangers, Martyrs, Inside to Kidnapped it's always been hit or miss with me. I like the nihilistic original Funny Games. I felt Haneke was saying something. I despised The Strangers and Kidnapped.
And I easily put them into two categories. One where the home invasion is deeply rooted in some sort of violent message. The other where brutality is not backed up by any iota of motive.
You're Next is in a 3rd mixing the two. So what were the ingredients to this masterpiece?
Instructions are below.
15 Min (grab some popcorn and hold on tight)
1 Hr 38Min
30 Min (that's when the shit gets good)
1 secluded house in a the middle of nowhere America
1 dysfunctional family dragging their SO's to a potential slaughter
3 demented, disturbed, twisted, fucked up killers in animal masks
1 Barbara Crampton
1 twist that makes you go WTF
1 other twist that makes you go WTF fuckity fuck...holy mother of fuck
30 gallons of blood and guts
Heaping, oozing, gloroficus blood soaked splatter spoonfuls of the following:
A few arrows in the head
1 sharp object through the head
1 sledgehammer to the the head
1 neck trauma
Put all ingredients together. Stir continuously until house is soaked and dripping with blood. Throw in twizzler twisters. Bake at 350 degrees until movie makes you say "Oh shit, that's fucked up." Movie is done when you start cheering for the final girl.
Best served cold.
But the standout performance is Sharni Vinson's Erin, an Australian who will make her impact known by showing she's a GIRL that can FINALly show what's what. It's weird getting an explanation of why Erin is the perfect adversary for the invaders but it works so well. She plays her heroine chic so well, I thought they were going to tell me she was a Hack/Slash professional F.G.
Then there's the why. Because we usually don't get why the home invaders do what they do. And in the midst of this chaos, we see who really is eviler when the Big Bad is ultimately revealed. Twisty goodness is great and in extreme doses it works better.
A few cliches are thrown in and as I watched with this predominant millennial generation I could hear the gasps of somebody checking underneath the bed, leaving somebody alone in a room and the sighs once somebody went hysterical. The Generation Y horror fan has been conditioned with these cliches and I could hear the groans and grumbles once these were executed.
But that's when Wingard's brilliance comes in. He slyly executes his "scares" by strategically placing them in moments of lull. The one that comes to mind is when one family member makes a Million Dollar man like sprint that ends with a death Jigsaw would be proud of. It's superbly executed that it borders on laughable. Later, cat and mouse games are in full Stratego mode and they all have brutal mayhem payoffs that make you giggle like a school girl.
All the performances are stereotypically cliched and over the top that only the well versed horror fan might get the satire on display. Wingard seems to play with this dynamic making sure the people we are suppose to hate will die horrible horrible deaths. But it's the ones we have a rooting interest for are where the applause meter is lit up and we oblige happily.
You're Next is the perfect mix of black humor, wicked kills and perfectly timed WTFs. It's a horror film for the generation that expects the horror cliches, archetypes and vicious mayhem but throws in curve balls, LOLs and memorable craziness morsels for them to tweet out.
I've been waiting for You're Next for a long time.
The wait is finally over.
It lives up to the hype and for me it's cemented itself in my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2013.
Now go eat up this fuckin tasty dish.
Some opening steam boobies
See the spoonfuls above
The twizzler twists
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
There is great horror coming from Horror X. If You're Next is your first taste, you won't be disappointed. It's got all the elements of Cabin in the Woods meets The Strangers. You're Next warrants repeat viewings, it warrants word of mouth praise and it warrants recognition that horror can always reinvent itself when talented filmmakers, writers and actors can collaborate and decide to create something new.
Check out the trailer.