Silver Screams – You’re Next
Where to begin with this one. You’re Next originally debuted in September of 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and sparked a bidding war that was won by Lionsgate. But then for a plethora of reasons, the film was shelved until its official theatrical release in August of 2013. Why did it take 2 years to be released, especially given the level of hype that the film had garnered amongst the horror community? Depending who you ask you are more than likely to get a multitude of answers, so it seems rather pointless to try and dig through the history of the film. We can look on the bright side, and be thankful that the film got a theatrical release. It could have been manhandled the same way that Warner did the excellent Trick ‘R Treat and sent it straight to video after letting it languish. But the question remains, especially given the turnaround time and the insane amount of hype, was You’re Next too good to be true?
To go into too much detail with the plot would rob anyone of the film’s level of excellence. What you essentially need to know is that the entirety of the Davison family is reuniting to celebrate the wedding anniversary of their parents at a secluded family vacation home. During a heated family dinner they come under attack from a group of animal mask wearing killers. Unfortunately for them, one of the people in the house also happens to be an expert at survival skills, giving us one hell of a ride.
Everything seems to click properly. One of the things that had many fans attention was the return of the lovely Barbara Crampton from her self-imposed retirement from acting. The return of a beloved genre icon, who played such a pivotal role in both Re-Animator and From Beyond, two absolute genre classics was enough for any genrephile to take immediate notice. Add in the reteaming of several of the talents behind the underrated A Horrible Way To Die and you have the beginnings of something that could revitalize the genre.
The writing by Simon Barrett (who also doubles as Tiger Mask, one of the attackers) gives a solid amount of humor while never dipping into parody, something which is a delicate line to walk, but with the direction from Adam Wingard it is pulled off masterfully.
Then there is the cast, and what a fantastic group it is. The aforementioned return of Crampton is only the tip of the iceberg, with genre favorite AJ Bowen leading the first portion of the film. His arguments with his brother Drake, played by Joe Swanberg show why these two should always be cast together. They just work so well together. The rest of the cast is no slouch either, with solid performances by Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn and Rob Moran as well as what essentially amounts to glorified cameos by beloved horror director Ti West (House Of The Devil, The Innkeepers) and the always fantastic Larry Fessenden.
But as good as the entire cast is blown out of the water by an absolute killer (pardon the pun) performance by Sharni Vinson. She takes a role in a film that starts almost as an ensemble, and completely makes the film her own. There isn’t a single scene in the film where you are not in the belief that she is her character. I am not sure if I will ever be able to see her in another role without thinking of her in this film.
As for the gore and the killing side of things, there is no reinvention of the wheel here, but sometimes there doesn’t need to be. While most of the kills are your standard slasher fare, given that we are not dealing with a supernatural boogeyman ala Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees, they make complete sense. It is never too excessive to dip into the torture porn territory, but again, it doesn’t need to.
In the end, You’re Next is a film that would fit in perfectly with the 1980’s slasher boom had they been given a moderate budget and some solid talent, and I truly think that is the greatest compliment that I could pay the film. Having had the opportunity to see the film in theatres, and now revisiting it again on Blu-Ray, I can without a doubt state that it is the best horror film to be released in 2013. Hell, I think it would have been the best horror film to have been released in 2011, or even 1987. It is not only a great horror film, it’s a great film all around.
If you haven’t seen it yet, get your ass to a store right now and pick up a copy.