still from you're next

Review: You're Next

Director(s)Adam Wingard
Principal CastSharni Vinson as Erin
A.J. Bowen as Crispian Davison
Release Date 2013
Running Time94 minutes

I swear after I first saw this movie, I was certain a sequel would drop eventually, but unfortunately it seems like that’s not the case. It’s a shame because You’re Next has all the ingredients necessary for a classic slasher movie: stylish kills, great villain design, a dry perverse black humor, and a wonderfully bad ass main character in Erin. The premise- a rich family is targeted by unknown assailants and have to fight for their lives- is simple enough, but its execution shows a real understanding of the craft.

What immediately set this movie apart from others for me is how thought out the story feels. Character motivations are present even for the bad guys so everything has a human element to it. Erin is immediately likable and is a great protagonist to latch onto. Sharni is a bad ass and from the way she carries herself up to the way her character takes charge, it’s apparent that she’s not going to be a pushover. The killers each have different face masks corresponding to a different animals which represent their personality traits. It’s subtle character work that goes a long way in making the group of villains feel distinct aesthetically. The members of the rich family feel nice and distinct in the few moments they get to interact with each other. I wasn’t expecting so many characters to feel so unique.

The reason the characters feel so memorable is because of how odd they all are. The family might be rich, but that doesn’t mean they’re any more functional than a middle or lower class family. The earlier scenes where they play off each other are great, even if the delivery of some of the lines feels wonky. Someone’s always got something strange enough to say to add a “unique” sense of humor to scenes. I personally thought the movie was hilarious (intentionally). I appreciate dry in-your-face humor that’s predicated on the absurdity of what occurs. I think it’s a more acquired taste so if you don’t think it’s funny watching it, I wouldn’t be surprised. But I think watching it from the point of view of a comedy makes the viewing experience more memorable and might be something you consider trying out.

Despite nailing most of important stuff, the movie suffers from a lack of impact. What I mean is that we barely get a chance to gauge the characters relations among each other, so when people start dropping it doesn’t feel like anything.It’s a shame because the few moments they talk to each other had me laughing, but all of that is pushed to the wayside for immediate action.That might be good if you just want a constant source of action, but that’s not my cup of tea. The movie also struggles to balance its tone at times. It wants to be funny but then acts too seriously at other moments to let the humor breathe. It makes it hard to process, especially when the third act starts.

Report Card

TLDRIf you like weird humor that’s dark and kind of perverse and also enjoy gory slashers, then You’re Next is made for you. There’s a sensible story, aesthetically interesting villains, and a great protagonist waiting to be discovered. Just be wary of strange tonal shifts and bare-bones characterization.
Grade B

Go to Page 2 for my spoiler-full thoughts!

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