New on DVD : You’re Next Movie Review

Flay Otters

You're Next PosterDamn. That is the only word I can think to start this write up with, having wrestled with various other combinations of colorful descriptive and expletives but ultimately deciding any I concocted didn’t cut the proverbial mustard. So, damn it is.

The next thing I think is important to note from the start is that I would not dream of spoiling anything major in a film like this, no way. Outside of the basic plot framework (home invasion/slasher) and performances etc, going in with as little data as you can is absolutely the way to do it. No only is the plot twisty and turny at points but any visual cues that I could mention that you might look for could lessen the overall impact and fun. And oh man is it ever fun – but I’ll get to that in a bit.

I seem to be having an Adam Wingard-centric SXSW this year, having done V/H/S/2 Friday (directed/starred on one segment) and getting in to see this one Sunday night. Wingard is also the director of the brilliant, Simon Barrett written ‘A Horrible Way To Die’ (who also wrote You’re Next) which I absolutely love so I figure I came in with a slight bias to liking his work. But considering some of the reviews and such leading up to actually seeing You’re Next, I probably wasn’t the only one with some kind of a predetermined notion that I might dig it prior to walking into the theatre.

The story focuses on a family reuniting at a retreat home (purchased as a renovation project for the father, played by Rob Moran) to celebrate his and his wife’s (played by the awesome Barbara Crampton) wedding anniversary. Their children, the slightly dickish Drake (Joe Swanberg), earnest but put-upon Crispian (AJ Bowen), seeming black sheep Felix (Nicholas Tucci) and the doted on daughter Aimee (Amy Seimetz). Each bring their significant others including the jet-black crop haired, hardass looking Zee (Wendy Glenn) with Felix, the independent filmmaker Tariq (Ti West) with Aimee, lovely and professional looking but clearly on edge Kelly (Margaret Laney) with Drake and the even tempered, at-ease Erin (Sharni Vinson) with Crispian.

Right from the start of the film we’re introduced to the masked menace that decorates the film’s striking poster via an opening sequence involving two ‘lovebirds’ (unrelated to the main family) in a nearby home the night before. This introduction is great because it shows that whatever it is we’re dealing with means business, and, there may be no real rhyme or reason to what will follow. The threat is real and the threat is coming.

Soon after we shift to the primary story: the parents and their arrival at the home and the arrivals of the children. We’re given a little more with Bowen and Vinson in the car ride there which includes a little lighthearted humor to ease the intro. I think this was wise because, with the jarring threat just established nearby and the countdown already starting in our heads, we need a bit to invest us in this family and light humor in that car ride scene does that well.

Once everyone is assembled and seated for dinner, uncomfortable (and very funny) conversation percolates between Swanberg and West’s characters and old family baloney starts to then quickly creep up between brothers, stress on the parents side bubbles up and tired, standby family roles try to force their will in the situation. This scene is so well done, so smart (and amusing), because it gives is the score for this family – people who love or loved each other but are just as much stuck with each other whether they like it or not. This less-than-ideal family dinner is interrupted by a sudden shot of violence from an unseen aggressor and we’re off and running.

And once it starts, it does not let up one bit. At all.

It is just one turn against another, another threat popping up seemingly out of nowhere which immediately panics everyone and sends them into varying levels of stress reaction. This was (yet) another smart move on the part of Wingard, the chaos of what is starting to happen to them rips them apart to their very cores, their base level instincts if you will. But, this breakdown still carries over some of the vitriolic family BS which feels natural and what normal people would do. We as the audience don’t know what the best thing to do next is and these people sure as hell don’t. Well, for the most part. You would hope there would be someone who would stay calm and evaluate the situation. One contingent of the family tries initially and fails terribly so we’re left without a pilot for a moment. Until another person steps up, cautiously at first and then full-board.

Beyond that, I ain’t sayin’ nothing. Watching the character in question take the turn from somewhat unknown to unrelenting badass is breathtaking and fun and excellent beyond all reason. This character just kills it, not only in ‘cheer for’ moxie and inventiveness but in selling the backstory and how it permeates into the situation now. For a less skilled person in the role, and for a less well written backstory, this would seem somewhat lame and/or contrived.

For me? Not the case. I bought in hook, line and various metal instrument. I was cheering and clapping and hooting along with the rest of the audience as we went along for the ride, the fight back against this unknown and seriously violent threat. To see the fight, to see the unyielding violence against violence is the mark of what this type of film should really be about. Unrelenting and steady in the face of this horror.

A quick word about how the masked menace is handled – I cannot think of a way to let the air out of a thriller/slasher more than to diminish the threat they pose. Wingard makes his villain a supremely scary and near unstoppable force that you’re intimidated right along with the family. The intense, slow motion entry sequence early on is a thing of beauty. Just totally unnerving.

I realize now that the more I go on, the more chance there is that I’ll spill the beans about something I don’t want to – so I’ll wrap this up. I absolutely loved this film start to finish. It was bloody and very violent, it was funny and charming, it was excellently filmed and composed and written, it sported a strong inspired musical score, it was well acted by a grand ensemble cast and it was, above all else, just 10lbs of bad-assedness in a 5lb bucket.

Cannot recommend enough. Sincerely, my hat is off to Wingard and his crew. Cannot wait to see it again.


5 / 5 stars     


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      1. Ash March 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm

        Are you saying its good?
        I kid :) you’ve got me all excited Flay… how long do we have to wait for general release?

      2. Flay Otters March 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm

        I think if I’m not mistaken that they’ve got it pegged for August. I’m sure as summer rolls around there will be updates about VOD/DVD releases/schedule etc but I think that is the timing I’d heard.

      3. Lionne Caro January 16, 2014 at 1:03 am

        Good movie just saw it yesterday worth watching

      4. Nathan Jewett January 16, 2014 at 1:12 am

        Just picked it up from redbox today. Guess I’ll watch it next

      5. mansabadman January 16, 2014 at 1:23 am

        I just bought this movie on bluray yesterday! Cannot wait to watch it this weekend. Thanks for the great review.

      6. Aina Rahim January 16, 2014 at 1:27 am

        I am gonna re-watch it again, very entertaining movie!

      7. William Armentrout January 16, 2014 at 1:27 am

        I liked it.

      8. Dana Hill January 16, 2014 at 1:28 am

        Worth a watch. I enjoyed it.

      9. Rudy Magaña January 16, 2014 at 1:41 am

        Worth watching.

      10. John Scotto January 16, 2014 at 1:44 am

        It sucked. Don’t bother. I wish I snuck in to see it.

      11. Dan Martinez January 16, 2014 at 1:51 am

        Jejeje you can try

      12. Stephanie Williams January 16, 2014 at 2:34 am

        Loved it. Just picked up my copy :)

      13. Donnie Bonn January 16, 2014 at 2:56 am

        i may rent it this weekend.

      14. NanaDonna Castello January 16, 2014 at 3:11 am

        I am looking forward to this, I saw the trailer and I will see it soon. Thank you for your review.

      15. Tiago January 16, 2014 at 3:19 am

        ***** Spoilers ******
        I was engaged though the movie, there are some plot holes (like why not take the axe and take a little knife instead?) and by the ending I was thinking that it can’t happen to nice people like that, I mean come from 0 to the worst kind of psycho because of money out of nothing? I think it lacks motivation. Or it might be a sign that times are changing, but I really hope not.
        Anyway, this is one of the best movies of the year, but that doesn’t say much.

        • Martin Pablo January 16, 2014 at 7:22 pm

          Remember that the axe is used in a different trap. Besides our hero seems comfortable with small arms like knife, hammers and screwdrivers, thats the training that our hero received.

      16. Jason Rosiak January 16, 2014 at 3:35 am

        trop bon film

      17. Faith Rightout January 16, 2014 at 3:47 am

        Just wait for the other movies to come out and buy the DVD set.

      18. Jack Kennedy January 16, 2014 at 4:32 am

        It was an ok movie, some good some bad
        If it is a top ten or #1 movie of the year that says more about how bad the horror landscape is then how good this movie.

        Big plot hole!!!!!(unless I missed something) Why did they kill the neighbors the night before if the reason for the killers was a plot against this family?

      19. Jack Kennedy January 16, 2014 at 4:33 am

        It was an ok movie, some good some bad
        If it is a top ten or #1 movie of the year that says more about how bad the horror landscape is then how good this movie.

        Big plot hole!!!!!(unless I missed something) Why did they kill the neighbors the night before if the reason for the killers was a plot against this family?

        • Martin Pablo January 16, 2014 at 7:16 pm

          Because they wanted their plot to work as a random attack by maniacs on several houses on the zone, and not only in the family house.

      20. Justenx Punk Brookesx January 16, 2014 at 8:58 am

        its ok not that great but its passable

      21. Steve E. Henderson January 16, 2014 at 9:16 am

        As far as horror movies go, this is pretty Damn good. To me the best one to come out this past year. Sorry the whole demonic possession and haunting deal is getting old really freaking quick.

      22. Christopher Horton January 16, 2014 at 10:33 am

        I liked it alot. I did NOT like having to wait so long for it to come out!

      23. Samuel Glass Jr. January 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

        Equal parts SCREAM, STRAW DOGS and THE STRANGERS. I agree that Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard make a great team. This has me jazzed even more to see what they’re planning on bringing to V/H/S 3.

      24. Jeff January 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm

        This movie kicked some serious a**!! The performances were great, the plot (although home invasion by masked assailants has been done before) somehow felt fresh, and the tension was unrelenting. I had a great time from start to finish and have purchased my copy! It will be a good weekend :)

      25. Rebecca Schaen January 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm

        Loved it. Bought it.

      26. Jensy Peña January 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

        buenisima!!!!!! 😀

      27. Steven Eric Bowling January 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm

        It was so-so

      28. Julie Amaya January 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

        Great movie!!! Better than expected!

      29. Elvis Krueger January 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm

        I loved it…On of my fav’ of 2013!Will watch it over ‘n over again^^ The use of “Looking for the magic” is awesome and I love Aimee’s death,cleverly orchestrated! 😉

      30. Ramiro Herrera Jr. January 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

        I liked it! Ill buy it from best buy ..

      31. Tiago January 16, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        Martin Pablo
        Good points. But, seriously I was screaming at her, “take the F** axe!!”
        at least she could have taken it away so they wouldn’t grab it again….

      32. Christine Gregorich January 16, 2014 at 9:51 pm

        Totally dug it. I love seeing strong females kicking arse!

      33. Sean O'Donnell January 16, 2014 at 10:36 pm

        Not scary, but quite entertaining. Definitely the best home invasion film I have seen, maybe ever.

      34. Lisa Moore January 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm

        Dont waste ur time or money garbage!

      35. Stella Mitchell January 16, 2014 at 11:52 pm

        This was a great movie and true for some families