Directed by Adam Wingard
Distributed by Lionsgate
There was a palpable buzz around Adam Wingard’s latest film, You’re Next. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive, and some folks were hailing it as the horror movie of the year for a spell. Now that the Blu-ray/DVD release is here, I’d like to chime in with my two cents. Is You’re Next really that good? The short answer is yes, but man, could it have been better.
On the positive side this is far from your typical home invasion film. You’re Next really shines in its unconventional approach to the flailing sub-genre and delivers an animal which is truly its own. The movie is scary, funny, exciting, and completely unpredictable.
We meet the Davisons, Aubrey and Paul, who are celebrating their anniversary in the most intimate way possible… via family reunion. Once the whole family is together in their home, the party is besieged by several murderers, armed with crossbows and more, who wear incredibly eerie animal masks. One by one people are taken out, and the situation both takes shape and unravels all at the same time. Of special note here are the performances of A.J. Bowen and Barbara Crampton. They literally steal every scene that they’re in, and it’s impossible not to feel their wide range of emotions as this horrid situation transpires. Another standout is Sharni Vinson, who redefines the final girl in brave and stunning ways. Really good stuff. I’m not going to tell you much more about the film itself because the less you know, the better. Suffice it to say that You’re Next is riddled with some nasty twists and turns.
The only thing holding me back from scoring this movie higher is actually the direction of Wingard himself. As soon as the action gets cooking, he starts moving and shaking the camera as if he were having a fit. This doesn’t convey tension, chaos, or anything of the sort. It’s just annoying and Wingard is guilty of this every time that he gets behind the camera (see: A Horrible Way to Die and V/H/S). This technique is not as bad or overused in You’re Next as it was in his previous efforts, but it’s really hard for me to stay in the action when I’m too busy trying to focus my eyes on what’s happening. I dunno. Maybe that’s just my personal preference. Either way, that bit of shaky-cam is really the only thing that I can say I disliked about this otherwise masterful film.
In terms of special features we get two commentaries: one with Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett which is wonderful from a technical standpoint but kind of dry otherwise and the other with Wingard, Barrett, and actors Sharni Vinson and Barbara Crampton. This one is much looser and a hell of a lot more fun. Still, each serves its own purpose. Really it comes down to what you’re in the mood for. In addition to those we get a quick 11-minute featurette entitled “No Ordinary Home Invasion: The Making of You’re Next,” which is exactly what you’d expect it to be. All in all, what we have here is a standard yet solid package.
If you’re looking to have one of the best times you’ll have all year with a flick, You’re Next will more than fit your bill. It’s riddled with enough jolts, gore, and gags to satisfy even the most jaded of you out there. A sequel at this point is pretty much inevitable and it’ll be interesting to see which direction it takes if in fact one gets made. I can only hope that the camera can remain still… for just a bit!
3 1/2 out of 5
3 out of 5