Well, hellelujah Baby Jesus! We have ourselves another pro-female horror movie that is just the bees knees. “You’re Next” , from the minds of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett is a first class horror joy ride.
The film centers on the secluded Davison family home: Mom and Dad are celebrating their 35th anniversary and all of the kids are coming to celebrate and they’re bringing their respective partners with them. Among this group is Erin, played expertly by Sharni Vinson, the younger girlfriend of Crispian. Initially, Erin is treated with a combination of amusement and disdain. Being the former student of your older boyfriend is not looked upon kindly in this family. It’s immediately clear that this family is not the happy unit that they would like everyone to believe they are and the family dinner quicly resorts to an argument. This fight is broken up when a dinner guest is shot in the forehead with a crossbow. The house is under attack and only one person is keeping their cool and making sure everyone survives:Erin.
This is when the movie turns from just another home invasion movie into something else. This movie doesn’t leave you feeling violated (I’m talking about you, Funny Games) but, rather, invested in the survival of the characters and Erin’s ability to fight back. Turns out Erin grew up on a Survivalist Compound and is more than equipped to go toe to toe with these animals. As everyone else succumbs to their panic, Erin is looking for weapons and making booby traps. This girl is amazing because she’s not just a Final Girl, she’s a badass who doesn’t need to advertise this fact. She just is. People who are genuinely tough don’t need to showcase it all day; they simply know that if the time comes, they will be able to rise to the occasion. What a novel, fun characteristic to see in a female lead.
“You’re Next” is smart, witty and fun. The jump scares are predictable, yet effective, and it has just the right amount of humor in it. The kills elevate from realistic to wonderfully absurd. (Seriously, have we seen a better use of a blender since Gremlins?) Watching Erin evolve from girlfriend to family protector is exhilarating. You never once question if she would be capable because we’ve never seen her character as anything other than an intelligent, independent woman. “You’re Next” truly is an original, “good time” home invasion thriller. The fact that the hero is a woman, just makes it that much more exceptional.