Screenwriter Simon Barrett sought to take the home invasion sub-genre of the horror film world and turn it on its head with You’re Next. He did that and so much more. What he and director Adam Wingard did was achieve one of the bigger surprises of the summer. You think you know what you're expecting from witnessing the You're Next trailer... you could not be more wrong.
And the fact that it is landing on screens so late in the warmer season is an especially special treat. For an audience that has seen it all -- and horror fans have, to say the least -- it is as if Christmas has come early.
The scares arrive from the most unexpected of places. It is easy for the viewer to think they know what is going to happen and, even more so, feel where this story is going. The thing is… you’d be wrong on all accounts. Sure, the film begins as many in the horror genre do… with a gruesome death or two. But then, it takes a right turn and never looks back.
Sharni Vinson and AJ Bowen are Erin and Crispian, a couple who we meet on the way to celebrate the wedding anniversary of Crispian’s parents at their woodsy, and yes, desolate home. The parents are already at the weekend home and the rest of the family is on its way.
It is established that mom has issues that have her hearing things in the old house. Also, the family is not so close, but this anniversary get-together is a way for the family to come together with the siblings and their significant others and start anew. And then the film does not take too long to start the horror. Arrows fly threw the window from out of nowhere and begin to pick people off.
And we’re off…
As seen in the You’re Next posters, the assailant or assailants are wearing animal masks that should immediately join the horror mask hall of fame with Jason, that Scream killer and even the ones from this summer’s The Purge. That is only the beginning of what spurs the scares in this wildly original flick that, yes, takes the home invasion movie and turns it on its head.
Wingard and Barrett, who previously collaborated and made the most unique of serial killer movies with V/H/S and V/H/S 2, have redefined a genre yet again. The way they build suspense and mark the right beats to avoid hitting cliches should be commended. There is a twist that is a mother of all twists, and upon learning it… you will look back on the rest of the movie and question what you knew or what you thought you knew.
That is why You’re Next is such a welcomed surprise. Twists in film today are hard to pull off. Audiences have seen it all. But, to have one that elicits an “oh my God” from its audience is so rare. Our You’re Next review finds that even knowing that one is coming will not alter the experience of the film. It is so hidden within the layers of this scare-fest that it will leave you gasping for air at what you are witnessing on the screen.
When the credits finally roll, there isn’t a “bonus” scene to wait for after those responsible for the chilling film you just witnessed are credited. Yet, the viewer will not be able to move because you simply can’t. Frozen in a combination of horror, shock and awe… the mind will go to work at trying to figure out how on earth the story got to its shocking ending at all. Simply… the film scores a huge “gotcha.”