“You’re Next” LA Film Fest Review

Jason McDonald

You're Next PosterBefore the start of the LA Film Fest screening of “You’re Next” director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett were on hand to introduce their movie.  Among the thank-you’s and acknowledgments to the cast, Adam briefly described what he intended to create when he set out to make “You’re Next.” He said he wanted to make a film that would be fun for the audience, something that would be an enjoyable experience for them.

This perplexed me initially.  I had been trying to ignore any details about “You’re Next” so that it would be a fresh experience when I finally saw it in theaters.  The only thing I had seen was a singular trailer that made the whole experience look like a pretty dire affair.  After all, the film is about a dysfunctional family being targeted by a pack of vicious masked killers.

However, after having seen the movie I can tell you that describing the film as “fun” doesn’t do it justice.  “You’re Next” is the embodiment of the slasher film fantasy we’ve all played out in our minds.  How many of us have said “Well if I was in that situation, I’d be kicking ass.  I wouldn’t just stab the guy, I’d beat him until I knew he was dead!” This film takes that idea and turns it into a brilliant running gag.

Yes, this film is funny.  It blends elements of dry humor, dark humor and physical comedy together to create a level of amusement that’s rarely done well in a horror film.  Is it purely comedy though? Hell no, this film can be pretty damn dark when it wants to be.   There are long and drawn out death scenes that’ll make you squirm in your seat and the film manages to retain a high level of tension and terror from start to finish.  The humor and horror blend together so well that it never feels jarring when the film rapidly switches between the two elements.  In fact, they complement each other in a way that I haven’t seen since “Scream” or “Shaun of the Dead.”

The violence in “You’re Next” can be shocking at times.  Not because it’s over the top and horrifically grotesque, but because the camera tends to linger on these people as they slowly die.  It forces you to watch as the life slips away from each victim.  However, humor can find its way into the violence as well and, at times, it can even be a cathartic experience for the viewer.  It is a very purposeful use of violence that isn’t used for the sake of shock value, but to provide a juxtaposition between the horror of the situation and the absurdity of the family drama.

Finally, I have to mention the music utilized in the film which sounded like it was lifted from a 70’s horror soundtrack.  From the unforgettable use of Dwight Twilley’s “Looking for the Magic” to the synthesized beats that underscore the tension; the soundtrack serves to highlight that this film is, in part, a love letter to classic slasher films.  The music definitely plays a key role in the film and will be just as memorable as any kill or joke long after after you’ve left the theater.

If you can get to LA Film Fest you’ll have one more chance to see it on June 19th.  For details on showtimes, visit their official site.  If you can’t make it then, the film hits theaters on August 23, 2013 in the U.S.  Whenever you get the chance, I highly recommend that you take it.  “You’re Next” is well worth watching.

5 / 5 stars     

1 Comment

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      1. Ash June 19, 2013 at 5:35 am

        Great review Jason. I can’t wait to see this film and even more so now having read your review.

      2. Ian September 2, 2013 at 6:03 am

        Outstanding film, just as you described and all the characters were perfect and even though you can guess the twist early on that didn’t stop the enjoyment of the film. I would give the film 5/5 and the music is off the chart which I think is testament enough