You’re Next (2011)

You’re Next (2011)
  • Time: 96 min
  • Genre: Horror | Thriller
  • Director: Adam Wingard
  • Cast: Sharni Vinson, Rob Moran, Ti West


When a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped… until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all.


  • With smidgens of background music straight out of a 1980’s John Hughes film and villains with a penchant for killing defenseless human beings by way of crossbows, You’re Next exhibits a new and fresh perspective on the horror/slasher genre. Now I’m saying this based on my observation of the movie’s second half. The last 45 minutes surprised me and I consider them very effective. The first half, well it resembles one of the weaker Friday the 13th sequels coupled with residue from the meaningless pile of junk that is The Strangers (2008) (“Next” plays like a wiser, more intelligent version of said movie). At 96 fast paced minutes, You’re Next isn’t monumentally scary. In fact, it’s a horror flick that plays more like a thriller. Does that make it less palatable? No way. Truth be told, this is an exercise that delivers a couple of nifty twists and turns that help it rise above the ordinary. And you know what, I couldn’t recommend You’re Next without them. I can’t however, divulge who the character is that turns out to be the reluctant heroine. If you choose to take in a viewing, you’ll find out for yourself that this person is a true survivalist that kinda came out of nowhere. And as the perceptive critic that I always try to be, I initially didn’t pick up on it.

    Harboring a cast that I didn’t know from Adam and taking place in I figured the middle of nowhere (of course), You’re Next has a premise that goes like this: A rich family consisting of a husband, wife, and four children (all with significant others) venture out to a remote vacation home (it’s not revealed where but I found out that filming took place in Columbia, Missouri) for a sort of rekindling (the vibe I get is that they haven’t seen each other in quite some time). This family (last name Davison) doesn’t know it yet but they are being watched and are to be eventually hunted down by henchman wearing creepy masks that resemble, I guess, bunny rabbits. What begins from that moment on is a relentless rush of terror that doesn’t let up. If you like the sight of blood, “Next” will not disappoint. After I left the theater, I wondered budget wise, how much money was shelled out for all those gallons of red dye corn syrup.

    Despite that fact that this flick works, there is still something that kinda irked me about You’re Next: The antagonists are revealed to not be psychopaths but strictly contract killers (hired to kill and collect a sizable amount of money). If this is the case, then why do they go out of their way to taut their victims (why do they care, it’s a business transaction). An example would be writing in blood “You’re Next” (the film’s title) on a mirror after a routine offing of a neighbor. Another example would be the act of the killers tilting their head Michael Myers style (you know the dude from Halloween) after the umpteenth victim lies dying on the floor. Oh and don’t get me started on the fact that they let a song play over and over on a CD player while a corpse sits lying in a chair. Seriously? If you’re going to do that, at least play a song worthy of listening to (the tune on repeat sounded like a guy trying to imitate David Bowie, nice try).

    When it’s all said and done though, You’re Next has some decent acting (much better than your standard horror fare with virtual unknowns in the cast), satisfying direction for most of the way (there are some scenes with a sizable amount of jittery camerawork that I could’ve done without), and an effective 180 degree turn in terms of what you thought you knew about some of the characters. Then there’s the ending. It’s been done a few times before with other films of this nature. It’s equal parts disturbing and funny here. Overall, this is not a horror classic that’s going to set the world on fire, but it succeeds in trying to add a spark to what I believe to be, a tiring, over-the-hill genre of filmmaking. Regardless, this gets a recommendation from me and it’s the “next” movie you should take in during these dog days of August.

    Check out other reviews on my blog:

  • “Fuck me next to your dead mom then.”

    Would this movie win a prize for originality ? Nope
    Was it scary or creepy ? Nope
    Were there scares in it that almost gave me a heart attack ? Yep
    Can you call it a horror ? Nope
    Were there a few memorable kills ? Yes
    Was it an enjoyable film for a relaxing evening ? Hell Yeah

    That’s for sure. This was a movie that I definitely wanted to see and it was ranked on my wish list as number 1. As a fan of the better slasher films I surely place this one among the other entertaining better movies. Of course it’s not really original or unique. When you’re familiar with the “Friday the 13th” series, you know you can expect it follows the same ritual. Only this time it’s not a gang of teenagers in a holiday camp who are chased by a mysterious crazy person with a hockey mask, but now it’s about a family reunion which is thoroughly disturbed by several assailants wearing animal masks. And I must admit that sometimes the appearance of those masks in the background was fairly spooky.

    A slasher movie basically can be compared with the song “99 Bottles of Beer” :

    99 bottles of beer on the wall
    99 bottles of beer.
    Take one down and pass it around
    98 bottles of beer on the wall.

    In other words the structure of the movie is basically the same pattern. First you get to know a group of participants. Thereafter the first victims are piling up. Then the guessing starts. Who will ultimately be the next victim? Was the way he/she was killed inventively? And at the end you start to wonder who is behind all this and what are the motives of this person. The success of a slasher story depends on a few factors. Is there a threatening atmosphere all the time? In what way are the characters butchered and is it an original method ? Does it take long before you begin to suspect someone, who could be the ultimate culprit? If you suspect someone already early in the movie, then this is an indication that it’s a predictable movie. Or they did it intentionally (as in “The Double” which is not a slasher film, but I use it purely as an example). And what surprise is used to end the movie?

    “You’re next” is not really frightening. There are a few scares (and I definitely had to gasp for breath for a moment) you actually should have seen coming. Most of the times it was just a pleasant and enjoyable movie. Only in the opening scene with the young girl peering into the darkness you can feel a real threat. As the massacre begins you can expect the better chop and cut work. Not everything was surprising, but nevertheless it was explicitly and gross mapped. Certainly the blender part is something different and rarely this fun kitchen tool is being used in this way. The last time I can remember that a blender was used in an unusual way like this, was in “Dead Alive”. The crossbow was something unique too. The rest was just average skewering, cutting and stabbing. It was halfway in the movie when the first idea of who it might be, came up. Eventually I was still a little surprised in the end. The motivation for these gruesome actions became also clear in the end. It’s not really a horror but rather a thriller. Only the end was a little too predictable and gave me a “Yes, of course this would happen”-feeling .

    A slasher movie that rises above the average of others in this genre. Most positive to the film was Sharni Vinson who emerged as a true commando with some decent survival skills. Sometimes a little over the top, but that made it more fun. And for me, something I’m definitely going to remember the most is the soundtrack with the song of Dwight Twiley. Every time I hear this song, I’ll definitely check if everything is closed. A great song (I never heard before) that perfectly fits this movie. A happy song put on “repeat”. “Looking for the magic.”

    Some performances however, weren’t that great. Especially Bowen got on my nerves already early in this movie. And to Margaret Laney I hand over the medal for “Most stupid decision made ever …”. A hysterical shrieking woman, who still wants to hang around in a (not so safe) room on her own. Stupid stupid stupid ….

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