MIFF 2013 Review: You’re Next (2013) — A Game-Changing New Twist on an Old Classic

You're Next

You’re Next has a pretty basic premise… on the surface: Erin (Australia’s Sharni Vinson) joins her boyfriend Crispian (AJ Bowen) as his somewhat dysfunctional family gathers together at a secluded house to celebrate his parents anniversary. Things go awry when strangers with sinister intentions pay the family a visit, although these trespassers may have underestimated one of their targets.

The only thing is You’re Next is far from a basic home-invasion picture, as all pre-conceived notions of how the narrative will play out are shattered by the second act: this is a film that creatively gives the horror genre a huge shot in the arm, as it takes some incredible risks creatively, and it’s astonishing to see the results successfully played out on screen.

You're Next

Point Break 2: Dead Kitties

You’re Next is the creative result of the collaborative effort of the new-wave of American horror film-makers; led in this instance by director Adam Wingard (V/H/S) and featuring fellow directors Joe Swanberg (dir. Drinking Buddies) and Ti West (dir. The Innkeepers) in acting roles. These young film-makers are revitalising the genre by acknowledging that current audiences are well aware of the generic horror tropes — in this case the clichés which are found in the home-invasion sub-genre — and go out of their way to subvert the audiences expectations, which makes for a surprising and enjoyable thrill-ride.

Vinson’s Erin is one of the most kick-ass females ever witnessed in the genre for a long time, an impressive feat considering horror films are particularly known for their strong female protagonists. This character can strongly stand next to icons such as Ellen Ripley and Laurie Strode, and this could be a breakthrough, career boosting role for Vinson; an actress who was toiling away at Summer Bay only a few years ago (a move which shall now be known as the Rapid-Hemsworth-Progression: From The Diner to Asgard).

You're Next

Nice of them to leave the heads up.

Although I may be playing up the (extremely dark) comedy and the subversive meta-humour, don’t doubt for a second that You’re Next doesn’t have its fair share of thrills. In fact, the film contains some genuinely gruesome moments and outrageous ultra-violence, and there are also some unsettling psychological and traumatic moments. The beauty is that this movie doesn’t get weighed down by the angst, but utilises it so that when we reach those “fuck yeah” moments, it is the ultimate catharsis. The swell of various emotions I felt while watching this was incredible. And rare.

I will also give a particular nod to the score: a synth effort clearly inspired by the self-produced efforts of John Carpenter films such as Halloween. It’s the ultimate proof that this was made by fans, for fans, and I could predict that it is a statement that this film is a game-changer, much like Halloween was in 1978.

You’re Next is a perfect example of a horror film which actively engages the audience in its scares, its comedy, and especially its “fuck yeah” moments. If Scream was the ironic resurgence of horror in the 1990’s, You’re Next could very well be the post-ironic resurgence of this generation. Considering the past ten years have been riddled with these ultra-gritty, joyless horror flicks which do more damage for the genre than good, hopefully You’re Next can be the trendsetter we all needed.

Llama Score: 8You’re Next is simply a chaotic, roller-coaster of a horror film that defies expectations and cleanses the palate after a good decade of largely sub-par additions to the genre. This movie is a blast and is a genuine game-changer. Will it be as influential as Scream was nearly twenty years ago? This is definitely up for discussion.

Award: Golden LlamaAward: AshAward: nails

Highlights Banner

– A kick-ass heroine.

– Genuine scares, genuine laughs, genuine triumph.

Lowlights Banner

– WWE stole the animal mask gimmick.

– This sat on the shelf for two years why?

Further Viewing Banner

– Halloween

– Scream

– Home Alone

Directed by: Adam Wingard Written by: Simon Barrett Produced by: Simon Barrett, Keith Calder, Kim Sherman, Jessica Wu Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Rob Moran Distributed by: Lionsgate Run length: 94 minutes Australian Release: 29 August 2013
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  1. The Best Films of 2013 | Sorry I'm Late.com

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