I just finished watching You’re Next and man, what a crazy film. The story follows a very rich family as they sit down for a meal together. Is it Christmas or Thanksgiving or something? I don’t know, actually. In all the hullabaloo that followed the setup sequences, I forgot some of the details. And yes, there is a lot of hullabaloo. Just as the family is starting to settle into their vacation home, they are attacked by mysterious people in horrifying animal masks.
The film is a slasher/home-invasion piece with elements of mystery thrown in. We don’t know why the killers are after the family. In fact, we only know a few select bits of information about each family member—enough to kind of get the hint that maybe they aren’t so likeable as people. I won’t spoil any of that here, but I will say that there is a lot of blood and killing in this film. So if you want to watch the movie, make sure you’re prepared for that.
That being said, I thought the film felt oddly… “playful” isn’t the word, because the stakes and tension were high. Maybe it’s because I just watched Creep, but You’re Next felt like basically a popcorn horror film. It was entertaining in the ways that we like horror films to be—that is, several scenes were harrowing, there were sometimes intricate methods of killing. Yada yada yada. But overall the killers didn’t seem as psychopathic or off as the antagonist of Creep. They felt a bit run-of-the-mill. Which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. I think it probably just speaks more to Creep’s quality. Plus they’re different subgenres of film.
I also didn’t really feel like You’re Next was saying much, unless the fact that the family is rich is some kind of nod toward a social issue. But I don’t think so. And again, this isn’t a bad thing for the film. Not all films are meant to be commentaries on society. Sometimes horror is escapism in a strange way—sometimes watching a scary movie allows us to get our adrenaline up and our fear out, allows us to take all those pent up anxieties that we have and just face them. There is a kind of release in some horror films. I think that’s more of what You’re Next is about, really. (Although leave me a comment if you think I missed something important beneath the surface of the film).
To summarize my feelings on You’re Next, I’ll say that it’s a decent film that does its job. But, for me, it doesn’t have the kind of under-your-skin staying power that a movie like Creep does. The latter’s power is shown by the fact that this is a review of You’re Next and yet I can’t stop talking about Creep.
Tomorrow is the seventh and final day of my Halloween horror film review-a-thon. As such, I’ll be reviewing what I consider the granddaddy of the genre—John Carpenter’s Halloween. Spoiler: it’s a classic.