The Return of 31 Days of Our Favorite Horror: You’re Next

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You’re Next (2011)  Dir. Adam Wingard

I fell hard for this movie when I finally had the chance to catch it on Netflix. I had heard some mixed reviews on this movie, but there were more positive things than negative said about this movie. I’ve been a fan of a handful of the new legacies in horror, to include Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, Joe Lynch, Joe Swanberg, and Ti West. There some others in the American school, if you will, and I’m finding new European acolytes as well.

You’re Next hit that sweet spot of mixing humor and straight up horror. And this horror is truly survival horror, or perhaps the term more appropriate is “survivalist horror.” Swanberg plays the older and douchier brother in a family of rich douche bags, which is something that I enjoyed seeing, a group of seemingly dickish family members who are we kinda want to see die horribly. I mean, not really, but sometimes the family has ways of saying some shitty things to each other in an oh-so-passive aggressive way.

The Davison family is a rich industrialist type of family, probably old money, based on the description of the family home. And the house is relatively rural as the audience is treated to a great opening murder scene. One thing that these new directors, such as Wingard, is use music to great effect. The opening murder scene is a fun way to answer some narrative questions that the audience might later ask, based on circumstances. Once we see the family dynamics come into play, it is plain to see that some of these folks gotta die.

One of the great things about this movie is not only its lack of restraint when dealing with violence, it is that the violence literally has consequences to all who inflict it upon others. Some of the deaths are quite inventive, specifically the first death, which proves that what you can’t see will hurt you. As the game of cat-and-mouse ratchets up in intensity, the stakes grow greater, the audience begins to see a shift in motivations. It’s a subtle one and if you watch closely enough you will see the ending coming a mile away, but that’s okay because it is so much fun getting to that point.

I saw You’re Next the same night that I watched Maniac (2012) and it might have been unfair to hold these two to the same standards. Considering that point, I might go back and give Maniac another chance to see if I misjudged it. If I do so, I will edit my original post with an update. Otherwise, take a chance and catch You’re Next if you haven’t already done so.

 

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