‘You’re Next’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 9th, 2014 at 6:50 pm,

youre next movie review Youre Next Review

There’s enough innovation and enthusiasm for the horror genre present in You’re Next to make it worth recommending to gore-hounds and hardcore horror lovers.

You’re Next takes place somewhere unspecified in the Southern U.S. countryside, at the comfy vacation home of wealthy former defense contractor Paul Davison (Rob Moran) and his medicated wife, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton). The four grown-up Davison children and their significant others congregate at the family’s getaway house in order to commemorate their parents’ wedding anniversary – but wind up reigniting old sibling rivalries and other forms of familial pettiness in the process.

However, all those problems get put on the back-burner once the Davisons and their guests find themselves under attack by a mysterious gang of murderers, armed to the teeth with a variety of weapons (axes, machetes, crossbows) and wearing rubber animal masks to hide their identities. It seems as though these violent home invaders are intent on slaughtering every person in the Davison household; though, for reasons best left unspoiled, that may be easier said than done…

You’re Next is a feature-length movie from screenwriter Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard, who previously collaborated on segments of the horror anthologies V/H/S (“Tape 56″), The ABCs of Death (“Q is for Quack”) and V/H/S/2 (“Phase I Clinical Trials”) – with Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw having noted during his V/H/S/2 review that Wingard’s movie segment is “more inspired and creative than actually scary.” That same description applies to You’re Next, even though the latter also suffers from having to stretch a clever premise – one that might’ve delivered more of a gut punch (no pun intended) as a short – to fill a three-act structure.

youre next animal mask killers Youre Next Review

It’s obvious that Barrett and Wingard are hardcore horror cinema fans who possess quite the impressive body of knowledge (regarding the genre’s traditions), given the sheer number of references to iconic slasher films, home-invasion thrillers, and vigilante flicks that are contained (and more than often, wryly subverted) in You’re Next. Barrett’s screenplay is essentially a single-setting scarefest that combines (very) macabre comedy with elements of a horrific cautionary tale and dark social commentary; it makes for an intriguing cocktail of genre tropes, for sure. However, the script’s thinly-sketched characters and strained first act/repetitive third act result in You’re Next feeling more like a partly-successful experiment – and not so much of a genre game-changer.

Similarly, director Wingard – who also edited the movie – and his cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo make effective use of their lower budget, by shooting most of the action in tight camera angles and being careful to not overuse shaky cam/jagged editing techniques, unless they benefit the onscreen proceedings. Nonetheless, You’re Next falls short when it comes to producing real suspense and terror, as the film’s big “scary” moments tend to be just cheap jump scares or moments played for intentional black comedy effect (on a related note: it’s sometimes hard to tell if the John Carpenter movie-like synthesizer score is meant to be creepy, campy, or both). In general, the film is better when it stops trying to be scary and goes for being comically-twisted and sick – especially with its gore gags and kills, which occasionally broach Evil Dead-levels of nastiness.

youre next sharni vinson Youre Next Review

Sharni Vinson in ‘You’re Next’

Most of the You’re Next cast members are saddled with playing flat characters, yet there are standouts among them. The noteworthy performances come from Sharni Vinson (Step Up 3D), AJ Bowen (The House of the Devil), Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) and Wendy Glenn (11-11-11). Meanwhile, Nicolas Tucci (Choose), Margaret Laney (Absence), Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color) and real-life filmmaker Ti West (The Innkeepers) are either passable or don’t have enough time to leave any strong impression. Moran and Crampton are decent enough in their roles, while the three killers (played by L.C. Holt, Lane Hughes and screenwriter Simon Barrett) each get a brief moment to shine – even when it just involves them inflicting or suffering bodily harm.

Overall, there’s enough innovation and enthusiasm for the horror genre present in You’re Next to make it worth recommending to gore-hounds and hardcore horror lovers – even though the movie doesn’t succeed at hitting all the big marks it aims for. Just don’t expect to leave the theater feeling all that unnerved or extra conscious about needing to lock your doors, once you get home.

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You’re Next is 94 minutes long and Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity. Now playing in theaters.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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  1. Hotline Miami : The Movie

  2. Terrifying AND funny? Those two do not go together, just in case you missed it. The front page description obviously did. Mikey boy Bay found that out….or he never figured it out….when he tried to mix world-ending drama with constant one-liners from known comedians. Pure…..genius.

    • This comment makes little to no sense.

      What relation could Michael Bay possibly have to this movie?

      • I’m also guessing Mr Tillson hasn’t seen any of the classic low budget horror movies.

        Hell, I saw the remake of Ju-On: The Grudge in cinemas on release years ago and while the audience were genuinely terrified throughout, there were also moments were the audience laughed too (whether intentional or not, I’ll never know).

  3. Hmm I’m going to have to really disagree with the score it should at least be a four its an amazing moving and I love the twist because I hate weak willed characters in a horror movie.

    • youre insane-have you ever seen a horror movie? this one was terrible-the writing was so bad-the big twists? so obvious-even the cast was bad-the mom is five years older than the kids? huh? people were laughing throughout-not scary at all-waaaaay overrated-and I thought The Conjuring was Overrated!!!

      • Did you see Mama? I really thought that was a great horror flick! – this was suppose to be a reply to Norman.

        • I know I haven’t seen Mama yet but my 18 year old sister went (she’s been getting into horror movies recently and I’ve helped her with recommendations now she’s old enough to see them) and she and her friends found Mama to be dull.

          I’m hoping it’s nothing like The Devil’s Backbone because I never thought much of that either. The Conjuring wasn’t scary either come to think of it.

    • Yes I completely agree. The film was startling and knew what it’s audience wants from it . In short if not a game changer , it was aninteresting addition to the horror- comedy – gore films; It wasn’t that scary, but sure was enjoyable !

  4. One of the worst films I have ever seen. The characters actions were so stupid that it was unbeleivable and the entire theater was laughing, including me. Acting was sketchy throughout. The plot was good per say but felt empty. The twist were some what interesting, Camera work was good. The poor acting and moronic characters ruined this for me, especially since I have been keeping tabs on this film since I saw the first trailer. Though I give them bonus point because Sharni Vinson was awesome in it and super attractive.

    • Did you see Mama? I really thought that was a great horror flick!

    • The things that the family members did was stupid. Why would they let their daughter run out with the killers? Why would that stepdaughter stay in the room all by herself when the mother was just killed knowing that the killer is probably still up their in the room when the family went downstairs? When one of the sons left I kind of knew why? The girlfriend of one of the sons kind of gave some of the plot away with her eyes and body language. The mother and father did look young to be the clans parents though. It had its good moments but flawed.

  5. I’ve been looking forward to this since I finally saw Wingard’s previous feature, A Horrible Way to Die. It’s a different spin on a serial kller flick, very well acted (AJ Bowen plays one of the leads, he’s turned into one of my favorite indie actors out there). I am looking forward to this, glad to see it’s getting a decent release.

  6. Hmmmm…(somewhat) negative review I’ve read since the film hit the festival circuit months ago. In fact, most reviews absolutely rave about it.
    Nothing against you Sandy, but our opinions have never jived, so this doesn’t deter me at all.
    Slasher Horror, IMO, has always worked best with comedy elements. I go to slasher flicks to have fun, jump, scream, & laugh with the theater audience.

    • *first* negative review…

  7. Bummer you guys gave it 2.5 stars. I usually trust your judgement. There are movies that I want to see and I don’t look at the reviews or listen to anybody. No matter how many negative comments or reviews a movie has. It’s what I call “My Most Anticipated Movies of the Year” and I don’t use it lightly. But, if I have some extra moneys lying around, I will check out reviews here and then decide. And this was one of those movies. Oh well sometimes it isn’t meant to be. And it is usually Sandy’s reviews or Kofi’s reviews that I trust in. (Ben Kendrick, after the 4.5 star incident on Prometheus, I don’t trust your judgement as much. Should’ve been 3.5 max, man. Come on! Still a big huge fan of the podcast).

    • Ben rightfully gave Prometheus 4.5 stars. That was a great movie.

  8. Man, I kind of wish something like this would happen to a gathering of my friends and I. It’ll be a guy with a crossbow, another guy with an axe, and a guy with a machete, versus a house full of guys who are heavily armed and trained, lol. The hunters will become the hunted. :-D

  9. “worth recommending to gore-hounds”

    You made me laugh out loud with that, Sandy.
    I do like a good horror flick, the Gothic variety,
    and I am not a “gore-hound” so not this variety :D

    Had you raved about it I would have checked
    it out anyway to see what others were liking.

  10. You’re Next movie review? Agatha Christie’s “10 Little Indians” on meth. Best line in the movie (you’ve got to see it to understand the context) “I dont think that is a fair criticism”. Hysterical and gory. I really liked it.

  11. So, did the studio watch the dailies after the initial dinner shootout, then decide to fire the WORST CINEMATOGRAPHER EVER after they saw how terrible he was.
    Did anyone else notice how absolutely horrible the camera was…then suddenly got good?

  12. Home Alone 5: The Revenge Of Kevin McCallister

  13. “You’re Next falls short when it comes to producing real suspense and terror, as the film’s big “scary” moments tend to be just cheap jump scares”

    That also sounds like it could be a review for “Phase 1 Clinical Trials”, as you mentioned shortly before that line.

    And therein lies the problem with horror movies the last decade. Too much reliance and emphasis on jump scares due to lack of true creativity in the genre.

    Going back to V/H/S 2 briefly, it shows why “Safe Haven” was overwhelmingly the best segment of that movie while “Clinical Trials” was the weakest. One had a terrible set of one dimensional characters and a random and unnecessary sex scene while filled with sudden jump scares to appear scary while “Safe Haven” was genuinely creepy and disturbing throughout.

    I guess it’s to be admired that fans of horror have been able to make movies that have been released worldwide to mass audiences but there isn’t anybody or any movie that I can think of in horror that has genuinely changed the game or seemed to innovate and show us something we’ve never seen before.

    I don’t know why people are sick of the found footage genre because I think there’s still plenty to do with it (and it’s been around on and off since Cannibal Holocaust and earlier movies) and feel like the true complaint people should have is the amount of jump scares instead.

    Given a choice between a movie where a masked killer provides a jump scare by leaping out of the closet at a victim or a movie where people are found with no idea what’s bumping them off until a slow reveal at the end before the final victim dies, I’d choose the latter every single time.

  14. Movie was garbage top to bottom. Garbage characters minus the heroine. Unbearable dialogue (the family dinner and the speech near the end with the final two people) and absolutely ridiculous moves by the family only to serve the story totally shot this down. Would have been marginally better minus the big “Here’s why it’s all happening”.

  15. thought it was good not horror per say

  16. You’re next was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Besides the fact that there was absolutely no suspense in the entire movie, the idea that an English professor is going to try to kill his family for an inheritance is beyond ridiculous!