YOU'RE NEXT has been the recipient of a fair amount of hype since its debut at the Toronto Film Fest in 2011. Though a two year delay in release seemed to put a damper on all the positive word of mouth, it still remains one of the most satisfying horror movies of recent times.
On paper, the plot sounds similar to the Liv Tyler home invasion film THE STRANGERS, but YOU'RE NEXT couldn't be more different. For one, it's almost more of a clever dark comedy than a straight on horror movie. It takes a while to realize it, but the over-the-top situations, the nonchalant characters, the dialogue—it's all increasingly ridiculous and heightened to the point of near humor. It's a tough tone to balance, but writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard nail it. By the time one character attempts to have sex next to a corpse, it's pretty clear which territory you've arrived in.
However, that's not to say it's all fun and games. This is definitely a movie clearly made by horror fans for horror fans. The cast and crew are comprised of names familiar to the "mumblecore" movement and it shares that same off-the-cuff, improvisational aspect that makes it seem fresh. YOU'RE NEXT is also very well-informed of horror tropes and exists as almost a reaction to modern slasher movies as well as a loving homage to some of the filmmaker's favorites from decades past. And when the classic 80s synth score kicks in during the third act, that's when the real fun starts…
I don't want to spoil anything because a lot of YOU'RE NEXT manages to be fun and surprising, especially given its genre. But it's got some great gore scenes (including one of the best kills I've seen in a long, long time) and one of the best modern horror characters in Erin, played by Sharni Vinson. You're in for a treat.
Commentary by director Adam Wingard, writer Simon Barrett and actors Sharni Vinson and Barbara Crampton: This is a fun track, chock full of great info and stories. It's great to hear Vinson's take on the film and the great character of Erin. And of course hearing from legendary scream queen Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND) is a treat.
Commentary by director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett: This is a rather straightforward track and seems sort of unnecessary given the other one. However, it's easy to tell both men are horror fans and they still have plenty to say about the genre and their entry in to it.
Making Of (11:41): Interviews with the filmmakers and cast give a sense of what the project was supposed to be and how it was executed. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes footage from pre-production and shooting.
YOU'RE NEXT manages to take the piss out of horror movies as much as it is a damn good one. If you're a fan of the genre, this is definitely worth checking out.
Extra Tidbit: Simon Barrett, the Tiger Mask Killer, is also the movie's screenwriter.