Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have certainly made a name for themselves in the horror genre in recent years, and it really started with this very film YOU’RE NEXT. This was a big break out film for them both, it helped that the film had a very strong word of mouth and it took horror fans by storm.
This was not their first outing though, they certainly caught some attention with the indie film A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE and since then things have only gotten better for the pair. Each film that has been written by Barrett and directed by Wingard has been completely different, and what remains reliable is their talent, which gets better with each film. In fact these are the two guys responsible for this years BLAIR WITCH film, a direct sequel to the 1999 phenomenon.
YOU’RE NEXT on the surface may seem like an unoriginal idea, a group of masked people attack and invade a family home. What makes this one different from all the rest? It is all in the execution and writing, this isn’t your typical home invasion film and as the film progresses it takes turns that are certainly surprising and welcome. Aubrey and Paul are celebrating their wedding anniversary, so they invite their kids and their partners for getaway to celebrate. During a heated family dinner that night, they come under attack from a masked group of people. Little do they know, one of the guests knows how to fight back.
Films that are set primarily on or in one location are always tough, you need to keep things interesting and allow the set to be a character as well. This is set mostly within one big house, and there are enough twists and turns in the story that there really isn’t a dull moment. The amazing house lends itself out to help set the scenes, and with it being such a big house there are lots of places to go. With a film like this it is important to keep the action up, but to also make sure you get time with the characters and when something big happens the audience feels it.
Atmosphere is really important for something like this, a home invasion film needs to make the audience on edge and scared. YOU’RE NEXT really delivered on that, having the setting be away from everything and out in what feels like the woods. The house is big and while there are places for people to hide, so could the intruders. The animal masks were extremely unsettling and not seeing too much of the invaders worked too because you never know where they are coming from, how many there are and what they have in store for this family. Wingard and Barrett certainly set the right tone, and as scary and as frightening as this film got, the comedy was dark and completely at home here.
The performances were all very solid, with the stand out being Australian actress Sharni Vinson as Erin. She had her Australian accent, it didn’t sound forced at all and it was natural. Erin was one of the outsiders, a partner to brother Crispian (AJ Bowen) and someone who could take control in a bad situation. AJ Bowen is always fantastic and here he was great, the dynamic he had with the other cast members was credible. The other stand out was Joe Swanberg as the asshole brother Drake, it was easy to dislike him from the get go and he did a great job. Barbara Crampton and Rob Moran were solid as the parents, a nice fit with the rest of the cast. Wingard definitely has his go to people and they are extremely reliable, can’t fault that.
Wingard and Barrett make for an amazing team, they know what works for their styles and they run with it. YOU’RE NEXT certainly takes the home invasion genre to the next level, expect the unexpected with this one. It keeps the audience guessing all throughout and it does not let up, it is a wild ride worth taking. This is not a film that one can find much fault in, in fact the film could have been longer because it is so much fun to watch. The film is easily a modern classic for the horror/thriller genre, it wont be easy to forget!