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Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Sharni Vinson stars as ‘Erin’ in YOU’RE NEXT.
Photo credit: Corey Ransberg
2013, 95 minutes
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity

Review by Joshua Handler

I can't remember the last time I was this satisfied by a horror movie.  Fede Alvarez, writer/director of Evil Dead from earlier in the year, should take a lesson from Adam Wingard and his loony horror/thriller, You're Next, which features some impressive gore and a strong lead performance from Sharni Vinson.  The film is follows what happens when a family gets together for the parent's 35th anniversary in their country house and a group of people in animal masks attempt to kill them.

You're Next comes in a year of pathetic horror films - ones that take themselves too seriously and are poorly made.  The Purge was a ridiculous piece of trash that was not only poorly made, but was so lacking in logic from the beginning that it was hard to take seriously.  Evil Dead was well-shot, but was never crazy or smart enough to keep up with its impressive VFX or cinematography.  You're Next realizes that it is ridiculous, giving it a Scream kind of self-awareness that makes it simultaneously funny and disturbing.  The humor in You're Next is pitch black, but sickly hilarious.  

Classic horror movies like Halloween and Jaws made sure that their audiences had fun being terrified, and Wingard seems to realize this.  He takes full advantage of this, creating a fresh horror film from a tired horror sub genre: the home invasion movie. 

The dementedly delirious gore adds to the thrills and the fun, as it is actually disgusting and inventive.  Wingard and writer Simon Barrett dreamt up some wicked gore scenes that escalate in insanity and intensity as the film thunders towards its gleefully gory finale.  The film's climax is beyond satisfying and wonderful, for once.

Adam Wingard knows how to direct a horror film with panache and style.  You're Next is nicely-shot and features an '80s-inspired score, adding to the energy and fun.  

The performances are weak near the beginning of the film, but grow stronger as the film goes on.  Sharni Vinson's lead performance is a badass delight.  She is the smartest horror heroine in ages - something refreshing since horror movie characters, especially women, are usually imbeciles, even the supposedly smart characters.  Vinson's character, Erin, isn't just good with a knife; she's physically fit and delivers more than one brutal beating.

You're Next is lacking in scares and originality and there are some logic holes, but Wingard establishes from the opening that the characters are idiots, allowing for some logic holes.  It is easy to overlook these minor flaws, though, since the film is so fun.

Overall, You're Next is an excellent horror film that I suspect horror movie buffs will love.  It is an exceedingly well-made film with a sense of humor, made by a smart director and written by a sharp screenwriter.  It is a breath of fresh air.


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