Mo Knows Movies: A You're Next Review
I’m Mo, and I know Movies. I was lucky enough to score an advanced screening of You’re Next, the hot, late summer slasher flick from Lionsgate Pictures, and I wanted to share my take with the Threadless community before it hits theaters this weekend.
Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett have done their homework, initially playing by all of the rules in the horror genre handbook masterfully. The ceremonial gore fest in the film’s cold open, the isolated location in the woods, and the mysterious masked murderers all seem a little too familiar, until a swift blow with a machete slashes through every horror trope we hold sacred in a genuinely satisfying way.
The recently retired Davison elders arrive at their new home, an enormous estate located conveniently in the middle of nowhere, ready to host a celebratory reunion for their four grown children and respective significant others. The night begins with the kind of playfully competitive banter you would expect from siblings reunited for the first time in years and ends in a bloody shower of crossbow fire. The family finds themselves under siege by some serious psychopaths in animal masks, and the body count rises rather rapidly.
All of these elements, along with some witty dialogue and solid performances already make for a pretty entertaining horror film, and then You’re Next starts to kick some major butt. A primal, survivalist instinct ignites in one of the party guests as she demonstrates exactly what audiences have been screaming at characters in slasher flicks for decades: she fights back, hard. And oh, what a joy that is to watch.
On a more critical note, the genre classification of horror, even home invasion horror, seems like a slightly inappropriate classification for this film. You’re Next really plays out more like an action flick that winks at horror and nods at the shenanigans of Home Alone. You won’t run home and check behind the shower curtain before sleeping with every light on in the house after watching, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a little refreshing that the blood-lust satiating intensity of You’re Next exists exclusively within the confines of the film. After feeling sufficiently terrified for about 80 minutes and experiencing some form of cardiac arrhythmia from a wild ride of plot twists, the film ties things up in such a nice little way that I actually left the theater smiling and nightmare free, a rare treat for a home invasion thriller.
With You’re Next, Wingard and Barrett execute genre-bending at a sophisticated level, perfectly pairing action with horror and peppering in some laugh-out-loud comedy as well. You’ll find yourself with your fingers plastered just below your eyeballs, jilted by effective scares, and delighted by some heartfelt belly laughs, sometimes within a single scene. If you like horror movies, you’ll probably love this film. If you like action movies, you’ll probably love this film. The only reason you could possibly skip this film is if you’d rather see Drinking Buddies this weekend, although Joe Swanberg makes a memorable appearance in You’re Next as well. In the end, Mo knows that You’re Next is nothing but fun—gruesome, bloody, lighthearted fun.