DVD Review - You're Next

Sharni Vinson as Erin in "You're Next"
When director Adam Wingard wratches up the action and the mayhem, the chaos and the carnage, he starts using the shaky camera technique. Whipping the camera in a frenzy is supposed to add to the frenzy. This impulse is a modern one. It's not always effective and it's actually rather annoying at times. Here is no exception.

Written by Simon Barrett, this film is a home invasion and slasher flick rolled into one. It comes after a line of movies such as Scream (1996) or House of 1000 Corpses (2003) where it's not just Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers or the one serial killer out for blood. It's two or more killers. It's a team or a family of psychos all conspiring or coordinating their murders.

Where the film falters is that the reveal is that once it's known that the murders here aren't random or the handiwork of madmen or sheer degenerates, once it's known that the killers are actually hit-men or hired guns, the movie makes you question their methods for attack.

There is an ensemble cast, but the movie centers around a couple. Erin, an English college student, played by Australian actress Sharni Vinson, is driving with her boyfriend Crispian, a college professor, played by AJ Bowen, to the summer home of Crispian's parents. His parents are celebrating their 35th anniversary and decided to invite their children and their significant others.

This includes Crispian's brothers, Drake, played by Joe Swanberg, and, Felix, played by Nicholas Tucci. It also includes Crispian's sister, Aimee, played by Amy Seimetz. Drake brings his girlfriend Kelly. Felix brings his girlfriend Zee and Aimee brings her boyfriend Tariq, played by Ti West. There's obvious tension between the brothers that comes to a head at dinner when they're all together. This is also when all Hell breaks loose and the murders begin.

Looking back at the end of this movie, one wonders why the killers just didn't simply wait until everyone had gone to bed and were asleep. They would have been easy targets or at least easier. The same question could be asked of movies like Scream or The Strangers (2008) or The Anniversary at Shallow Creek (2011), but with those movies the killers were sadistic and enjoyed the thrill of the chase. Again, these killers are hired guns. They're just doing a job not having fun.

The fun instead is had by the filmmakers. Like the camerawork, the underlying premise is shaky, but the filmmakers don't care. All they care about is positioning the character of Erin, so she's trapped in a house that's under assault and she has to fight her way out. This isn't quite in the same level as female revenge flicks of decades ago, but it gets to a point in reveling in a young woman going ape and being defensively aggressive and even offensively so.

That, and it revels in sharp objects going through or into people's heads. However, Vinson is great as Erin. She takes the blood and the bruises in stride and certainly kicks ass as she becomes a total bad ass herself.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 34 mins. 


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