'You're Next' (2013) Movie Review

You're Next movie review
Sharni Vinson in You're Next
Photo: Lionsgate

You're Next is not really all that scary, but where it finds its charm is in the fact it expects and wants you to laugh at and with it. It's a gory little riff on a home invasion story a la The Strangers with a dose of Home Alone and When a Stranger Calls with the familiar, badass female survivor trope at its core. And all of this works in its favor, ultimately delivering a fun, if disposable horror entry worth a matinee ticket.

You're Next
Grade: C+

You're Next"You're Next" is a Lionsgate release, directed by Adam Wingard and is rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity. The running time is .

The cast includes Joe Swanberg, Sharni Vinson, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Kate Lyn Sheil, Wendy Glenn and AJ Bowen.

The hard part is getting into the story because this film isn't boasting a wealth of acting talent as director Adam Wingard (V/H/S) does what he can with what he's given, but only his lead actress, Sharni Vinson, comes through unscathed of those that live longer than 20 minutes.

The story revolves around the Davison family reunion at a secluded vacation house in the woods and never before have you met a family so deserving of being killed than this one. Mom and dad (Barbara Crampton and Rob Moran) set the tone reading lines as if the battery power on their brains is dying and joining them are their sons -- Nicholas Tucci as Felix, Joe Swanberg as Drake and AJ Bowen as Crispian -- their daugher Aimee (Seimetz) along with their significant others -- Wendy Glenn as Zee, Margaret Laney as Kelly, Vinson as Erin and Ti West as Tariq. Yes, it's a full house and a lot of people are going to die as this not-so-happy household sits down for dinner.

Soon, arrows from a crossbow slam through the windows. One of the characters takes one to the head, another to the back. The house is under attack and the assailants are wearing fox, tiger and lamb masks. As people continue to be picked off, subtle (or not-so-subtle, really) hints are dropped as to why this is happening while Vinson's Erin proves to be the one up to the task to protecting the members of the family.

Each and every twist in the story comes with a tongue-in-cheek jab at the genre in which the film exists. The moment the film sort of beats you over the head with the fact you had better be laughing comes as one character takes a running start at the front door in an attempt to escape and find help. Captured in slow motion and accompanied by, "Hold the doors closed until the very last second, they won't expect her to come out at full speed," makes it one of the most hilarious scenes I've seen all year.

Overall, You're Next is a slow build. The first 30 minutes or so are tedious and annoying primarily because you'd just prefer all the characters were killed and they would just start over. In fact, I got to the point where I was trying to figure out who all these B-level actors reminded me of and still wonder what it would have been like had Milo Ventimiglia, Olivia Wilde, Rashida Jones and Emily Procter had actually been cast. However, as the characters begin to get picked off you begin to find enjoyment in their demise and Vinson is quite good as Erin to the point not only do you expect her to be the stereotypical "female survivor", you want her to be.

The horror genre has so many misses it's nice to see one that has fun with the overall silliness of it all, but it isn't as if the idea of a self aware horror film is new. You're Next is certainly a step above many of the video on demand horror releases we've seen as of late, but only to an extent that with the right audience you'll have some fun in the theater, but in the end I don't think you'll feel as if you've seen something terribly outstanding.


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  • http://letterboxd.com/gman/ G-Man

    I love the Home Alone reference. Agreed. Here's my review I wrote last night after watching it:

    One of the stronger slasher movies we've had in the last few years. While the script has its pluses, including good twists and original kills, there were a few weaknesses of characters making dumb decisions (mostly the villain actually) that slightly took away from my enjoyment. In general, the script covers its bases from an "I don't know what I would do if I were in this situation" perspective, which I always look for in horror movies.

    The violence and gore is over the top sometimes, but pretty fun for the most part. Characters are ok - pretty decent from a development perspective for this type of movie.

    In the end, You're Next is a fun slasher movie that I enjoyed, but don't think I'll return to very often, if ever in the future. If you're in the mood for some horror I would recommend giving it a shot.

    7.0 / 10 or "B-"

    Minor Spoiler:

    There was really no reason for the villain to scribe "You're Next" on the wall in blood, other than to support the catchy title.

  • http://www.smartfilm.blogspot.com SmartFilm

    Nice review, I found it to be a nonstop joyride. Here's a portion of my review:

    With last years 'Cabin in the Woods', screenwriter Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard subverted the epoch of cabin-based teen slasher films, amalgamating the tropes of the genre in a style that was at once mocking and pedalizing horror. In a way, they reminded us why the genre still mattered and what exactly about it was so much fun. In similar fashion, 'You're Next' employs gleeful violence and sardonic storytelling to solidify the paramount import of the horror's existence. In viscus-smattered effect, it is bloody, simple, unadulterated fun at the movies worthy of strong consideration for any horror buff.

    For more, read on here: http://smartfilm.blogspot.com/2013/08/out-in-theaters-youre-next.html

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris/ Chris

    Saw it a while back. Thought it was garbage. The lead was the only decent part and the asshole brother.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

      Would you say it's better than the Evil Dead remake at least? I hated that movie but was thinking about giving You're Next a watch.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

        I gave Evil Dead a better grade, but I would probably watch You're Next again before that film.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

          I've got Evil Dead coming today from LoveFilm strangely enough, i'm not a big horror fan but i do dip into the genre from time to time. As for You're Next, it doesn't sound like my ting.

  • David Marc

    I'm gonna give it a solid B to B-. I wasn't expecting much given how formulaic and predictable most slasher films tend to be but I was pleasantly surprised that the film was edited in a way where I could follow the action beats and knew where people were in relation to each other and their locations. Without spoiling too much I feel like there are a couple of moments that really telegraph the motivations of some of the characters very early in the film which ruined the reveals towards the end of the film. G-Man is quite correct in pointing out that there is absolutely no reason for the "you're next" to be written in blood anywhere in this film that can be explained from a character motivation point of view except perhaps as part of a cover story for the perpetrators. Like any slasher film characters behave much more stupidly to serve the needs of the narrative than we can be expected to believe. But the film's energy and suspense is enough to make you forget these things at least while you're watching. It's definitely a film that does not benefit from too much close examination or re-watching. The basic story elements, writing, and acting are worth no more than a C at best but what moves it into the B range for me is the creative use of scoring, particularly a catchy 70's song whos repetition is built into the construction of the narrative in a clever way. Admittedly the bar is set lower for films in this genre so it takes less to impress but I couldn't help but think as I left the theater that I've had more engagement with two horror films (this and the Conjuring), than any of the big summer blockbusters this year. Perhaps it's because these films are rated R and are targeted a specific audience by filmmakers who actually care about adding competent entries into the pantheon of their chosen genre, whereas your summer blockbuster is watered down to appeal to everyone and anyone and therefore takes no risks. I'm a person who used to love the summer blockbusters made by Spielberg or James Cameron or John McTiernan, etc. But frankly no one seems to be able to get it done anymore. Have I gotten too old or am I correct in thinking that these superhero movies are just crap?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/kathrynlynn/ kathrynlynn

    I am a big fan of the horror genre, and I really enjoyed this film. I would agree with you that the acting leaves something to be desired, and besides the lead female, some of the acting really takes you out of the movie. But the script itself I thought was very funny, clever in a smart-ass way... and I honestly really loved Vinson- she carries the film in a way I wasn't expecting, most of the time in the b-level horror genre I can't stand the female survivor and would want her to meet her demise....

    but you are right, you want Vinson to come out on top.

    I was laughing out loud, and the way the plot reveals itself along the way- I did have some surprise moments even though most things are telegraphed to you.

    One of my favorite lines was when one of the sons yells to his father "They must be using a jammer to jam the frequencies... you can buy one of those real easy for like 30 bucks"