You’re Next. Film Review

you're nextYOU’RE NEXT

Director: Adam Wingard

Screenplay: Simon Barrett

Starring: Sharni Vinson, Barbara Crampton, Joe Swanberg, Ti West

Certificate: 18

Running Time: 91 Mins

Format Blu-ray/DVD

Release Date: 13/01/14

Reviewed by Guy Adams

Opening at festivals at the end of 2011, YOU’RE NEXT has gathered a steady stream of plaudits ever since. True, a handful of mainstream reviews reacted somewhat sniffily towards it, mostly it seems for the movie’s audacious refusal to reinvent the wheel. A strange criticism and one that is unlikely to become popular in other areas (“I won’t be eating at that restaurant again, their fillet steak tasted like beef”). Perhaps the future will define this as the CABIN IN THE WOODS era, when horror was given a sound kicking simply for doing what it does well.

When the Davison family gather in a remote house for an anniversary party they’re attacked by a band of killers wearing rubber animal masks. Soon, it’s down to Sharni Vinson (BAIT) in the sacrosanct role of ‘Heroine With Guts’ to even the odds.

The home invasion movie is always rich soil for horror and YOU’RE NEXT flips between eerie menace and kensington gore. A thick vein of black humour is also present, just to confuse the casual viewer (in my experience there’s nothing that throws people more than a variable tone in horror, personally I love it but some — including, sigh, a few of those who have read my novels — don’t always agree).

Many of the Davison clan are hard to root for, belonging to the whiny and privileged genus of bastard, which means the viewer can sometimes be egging on the killer rather than the victim. In itself, a common enough trope in slasher movies.

The killers’ insistence on correct apostrophe usage, even when hastily scrawling in blood, added a tick to their plus column for this, quite unreasonable, viewer.

There is also the conventional presence of questionable intelligence amongst some of the Soon To Be Dripping. Screen psychos always did thrive off character stupidity. If everybody in horror cinema possessed common sense, Jason Vorhees’ machete would have grown rusty from disuse many summers ago.

Given the questionable personalities on offer amongst the Davison clan, it’s a relief that the film doesn’t linger on introducing them. Once the crossbow bolts start to fly and we’re in familiar, siege, territory, the film rattles along, frequently channeling an eighties sensibility (never more so than when the soundtrack appears to resurrect the synth tones of John Carpenter at his ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 best).

The effects are resolutely old-fashioned too and the gore stays on the right side of pantomime excess as the cast list dwindles.

For fans of simple and effective horror then, eager for a traditional ninety minutes of tight, classy and gruesome fun, YOU’RE NEXT is well worth picking up. Yes, it all feels familiar but it’s done with style and the liberal sprinkling of fresh touches lift it from the banal to the extremely enjoyable.

Both blu-ray and DVD come with a ‘making of’ feature and a pair of audio commentaries featuring Wingard, Barrett, Vinson and Crampton.