2.4 You’re Next

Find yourself a girl who can do both.

If you’ve already read my review for From a House on Willow Street, then you’ve surmised that I am a fan of You’re Next. And you’re right.

You’re Next follows a couple to the boyfriend’s family’s vacation home. The Davidsons’ are not a particularly likeable bunch, so early on, you find yourself aligning with the girlfriend, Erin. The group settles in for dinner only to be disrupted by some home intruders intent on killing the entire family. There doesn’t seem to be a motive, so the movie begins to feel like The Strangers. Early into the onslaught, you realize Erin is well-versed in self defense and quickly becomes the family’s best chance for survival. There is a pretty heart-wrenching (as far as horror movies go) twist at the end as the motive and the culprits are revealed.

So what sets You’re Next apart from other dinner party / home invasion movies? One of the biggest reasons lies within the main character, Erin. You’re given just enough back story to believe that she is capable of everything she does in this film. She launches into survival mode, and bad-asses her way from beginning to end. I think part of why her triumph is believable, too, is because everyone in the film operates as a raw human. They aren’t stereotypes. The attackers get winded. They run out of the breath. They’re a bit clumsy. The family argues as to what to do. No one does anything super dumb. This is how a home invasion would happen in real life. Slasher films can be really bad about making the assailant seem super human. You’re Next puts everyone on the same playing field, and whoever has the best training (Erin), is going to succeed. That’s the other reason why it’s great. Finally, the twist is really nice too. The effort put into the story is apparent, and that is another reason why this breaks away from the pack.

You’re Next fumbles in places, but mostly in presentation. It sat on a shelf for three years before mass production. To keep it fresh in everyone’s minds, the marketing team upped the ante by calling this film a “game changer.” They told audiences it would change the slasher genre forever. So people were expecting a lot, maybe too much, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. Plus, it has a cameo from Ti West, so that’s great by itself.

Don’t go into this expecting it to change your mentality on horror, but do expect a smart slasher with one of the best Final Girl’s the big screen has ever seen.

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