It’s been a minute since we had a movie that was just plain fun to watch this month so I’m really excited to present today’s pick: You’re Next. This one is by no means a perfect film and it’s a somewhat gratuitous and over the top take on the home invasion film for modern audiences.
This feature from writer/director pair, Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (who also brought us The Guest, V/H/S, and the Blair Witch film from 2016) is about the Davison family’s 25 year wedding anniversary celebration at their remote house which soon becomes a nightmare when a terrifying gang of killers preys upon the family. Unfortunately for the killers, one of the people in the house knows how to fight back.
Right off the bat, let’s talk about the overall look of the film. Easily one of the best things this film gets right is its cinematography. Time and time again we see these smaller budget horror films (such as It Follows or The Final Girls) with shots more beautiful than you would see in many blockbuster flicks. The composition is so artistic that it adds this somewhat beautiful look to a film that’s so focused on moving from kill to kill. Still, it just makes it that much more enjoyable to watch because it’s pretty.
Like I said earlier though, You’re Next is by no means a perfect film. The plot is kind of predictable and though you may be surprised by the twists, it’s more likely you will not be. Before rewatching the film, I hadn’t seen it since it was in theaters in 2011, and aside from one particularly shocking scene, I couldn’t remember too much about the film. While that made it fun to rewatch, it does kind of say something about how otherwise forgettable the story is. Still, I enjoyed it more the second time around. The unique way each kill is played out is fun to watch and it’s refreshing to see a home invasion film that isn’t quite like all the others. It’s got its comedic moments (some due to less than stellar acting if I’m honest) but it’s also got its jump scares.
But my favorite part of this film is related to a rather huge spoiler so if you haven’t seen the film then maybe stop reading now and go watch it. If you have, then it’s all good. Proceed.
What makes You’re Next stand out for me is also its use of the final girl trope. It both plays into the standards where she has to suffer and go through a lot throughout the film as a whole but it subverts this by making her a complete badass. She doesn’t scream, she doesn’t lose her cool, and she doesn’t make stupid mistakes. Erin (Sharni Vinson) is brilliant. She sets traps like an adult Kevin from Home Alone but less ridiculous and more efficient. I’m all about more final girls who hold their own in a fight. Scream queens had their time in the genre, it’s time for more women like Erin to rise up and join the ranks of this subgenre’s history.