Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Sharni Vinson, AJ Bowen, Barbara Crampton, Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Larry Fessenden, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Gleen, Rob Moran
Adam Wingard has made his most mainstream movie to date. If you have seen any of Wingard’s previous flicks you’ll know this is saying a lot. Home Sick, A Horrible Way To Die and of course the V/H/S films are all unique entries in the horror world and have (over time) gathered their following, but Wingard is not exactly a household name and odds are really good he never will be. Judging by his films I honestly don’t think he gives a shit and we get some badass films for it.
If you’ve watched any television in the last month you’ve most likely seen the trailer for You’re Next and the plot you’re thinking in your head is right: Rich family meets up for a weekend away and one by one they start getting picked off by three animal-masked assailants. I know you’re thinking “Yeah Bub, we’ve seen this kinda flick a hundred times. Nothing new.” and you’re right to think that, but where You’re Next differs from it’s film kindred is in its execution. Wingard takes his time setting up the family and just when you think you got the family dynamics figured out, he throws a match in the gas can… Or an arrow in the head. Literally. Instead of going the standard cat and mouse route, Wingard and writer Simon Barrett hit you with a curve ball and we get more of a cat and mouse and another cat with a meat mallet kinda film.
Not only is the film scary, it’s also fun as hell. At the screening I caught, people were cheering amd yelling at the screen and it wasn’t annoying. Hell, I think all the audience “participation” enhanced it. This film is such a wild ride. Who would have thought watching a family get dismembered one by one would be so fun? Maybe watching a guy get a blender stabbed through the top of his skull wouldn’t have gone down so smoothly if not for the rowdy crowd, but it was great to know I wasn’t alone in enjoying the hell out of it.
Much can be said about the whole cast in this one. Seeing Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond) on the big screen was great and Joe Swanberg played the perfect big brother asshole ( don’t know if that’s a compliment or not), but the real star here was Sharni Vinson as the “Final Girl” Erin. This chick rocked the shit here. Complete badass! Never before have I seen a final girl chew up the scenery like Vinson does here. To call her the next scream queen almost feels like an insult. Most scream queens are fragile, frightened characters who spend majority of the film (no pun intended) screaming. Not Erin. In fact, she is the exact opposite of that. More like a scream badass. A strong female lead is not anything new in the genre, but I can’t recall a recent (non-Tarantino) genre film with one this hardcore. Most of the brutal kills are done at the hands of Erin and each one is more gruesome and spectacular than the last.
So Wingard and writer Simon Barrett didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel with this one and that’s not really what they set out to do. What they did accomplish in making, was one hell of a theater going experience. Seriously, if you see one horror flick on the big screen this year make it You’re Next. It might help to knock back a few drinks (if you are of drinking age. SJP in no ways condones underage drinking…. unless your going camping in the woods and just received a foreshadowing warning from a creepy old man. Then go right ahead), then catch a midnight showing. Over the top, brutal and at times pretty damn funny, You’re Next has set a new standard for horror films.
You’re Next hits the big screen August 23rd (this Friday!) and don’t forget to check out our interview with Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett on Podcast #43 ( JUST CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!)