Horror films were hitting hot at heavy and it wasn't even October yet when You're Next was released. It was coming off the heels of The Conjuring (probably the best horror film of the year) and heading right into Insidious: Chapter 2 (a film I'm still waiting to see). You're Next is a film, first shown in 2011, that has taken a lot of people by surprise. I include myself in this as well. I wrote this off as another movie fueled by hype, that would fall flat when I watched it. But as I watched it, I was thoroughly surprised, as I think was the person I watched it with. From the dark humor, to the bloody deaths, this is not only a horror film, but a fun one that you can truly enjoy.
You're Next opens with a couple engaging in sexual activities. Once finished, the man takes a shower, while the woman goes to get a drink. As the man gets out of the shower, he sees "You're Next" written in blood on his mirror, before he's killed by an unknown assailant. The next day a wealthy family is shown driving to a remote vacation house in Missouri. At said house the mother, Aubrey Davidson (Barbara Crampton), hears a noise upstairs and her husband Paul (Rob Moran) is about to check it out. Before he can, his son Chrispian (AJ Bowen), and his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson), arrive and the matter is dropped. The next day Chrispian's other siblings arrive. Drake (Joe Swanberg), his older brother, along with his wife Kelly (Margaret Kelly). Aimee (Amy Seimetz), his younger sister, with her boyfriend Tariq (Ti West). Finally, Felix (Nicholas Tucci), his younger brother, and his girlfriend Zee (Wendy Glenn) arrive that evening. At dinner tensions become high between Drake and Chrispian. As the two brothers argue, the rest of the family attempt to calm each other down. During the chaos, Tariq is shot in the head with an arrow, and this sets in motion the events of the movie. Where a family gathering turns grisly, as a group of animal mask wearing psychopaths terrorize them.
This is a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. That's one of the biggest strengths that You're Next has. The writing , by Simon Barrett, was a decent blend of mystery and thriller, combined with the brutal side of horror. There's dark humor inter-weaved throughout this, so it never just turns into a twisted mess. The story is pretty simple, no bells and whistles. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's nothing to write home about. The twist (and Spoilers, there is one) is pretty predictable. But, the way it's revealed is done in a good way. You get the tension builds, you get the scares, the blood and gore, all wrapped up in a convenient little package, so to speak. The acting is fine by everyone. I had just watched Drinking Buddies, so to see the director of that, Joe Swanberg, was pretty cool. But, beyond that it was mostly unknowns (to me). The characters were fine, again nothing to write home about. Everyone did their job well and played their part. If I had to single out the star, I'd have to give it to Sharni Vinson as Erin. She really carried the bulk of the movie once everything started to happen. Not to mention she has some sick moments throughout the film. Now this is the point where I'd usually break into a second paragraph about everything "wrong" and "bad" about the film. But, like I've been saying this is a very straightforward flick. Nothing is bad per se, more lacking, and all of the good really outweighs the lacking in this. The lack of character development is made up for with the brutality. The lack of a truly great story is made up for with the dark humor throughout. All things of this nature is really what appealed to me in You're Next.
I've had a lot of time to mull over this film and it's really hit me as a Cabin In The Woods-lite. Although Cabin In The Woods had great writing and a great cast, You're Next shines, though not as bright, in some of the same areas. Capable enough writing, and actors who got the job done help. The brutal kills and dark humor shrouding this movie are great. Really making it easy to turn your brain off and enjoy. I think if you're a fan of horror you'll be into this. Easily one of the best horror films of 2013, and who doesn't love a good movie done on a smaller budget?