SXSW: You're Next Is How You Do A Home Invasion Thriller Right

By Eric Eisenberg 2013-03-13 12:54:51discussion comments
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SXSW: You're Next Is How You Do A Home Invasion Thriller Right image
I can distinctly remember the first time that I heard of Adam Wingardís Youíre Next. It was all the way back in September 2011, and while casually browsing the internet my Twitter feed suddenly exploded. Fellow movie critics and friends attending a screening of the home invasion thriller at the Toronto International Film Festival heaped lavish praise upon the piece and I immediately felt the need to have the experience for myself. Unfortunately, it took about a year and a half for it to happen, but this past weekend at the South by Southwest Film Festival I finally got my chance. ďWorth the waitĒ only begins to describe it.

Built on a familiar and simple premise, Youíre Next distinguishes itself with a terrific cast of characters, authentic scares to spare and just by being incredibly entertaining. Written by Simon Barrett, the story begins as the children of the Davison family (AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz, Nicholas Tucci, and Joe Swanberg) and their significant others (Sharni Vinson, Ti West, Wendy Glenn, and Margaret Laney) gather for their parentsí (Rob Moran and Barbara Crampton) 35th wedding anniversary at the clanís mountain home. Things start going horribly wrong when a group of masked, silent killers descend on the house, but what they donít know is that one of the party guests is more than ready for them.

Between Evil Dead and Youíre Next I must say that Iím amazed how many great scares I have experienced at SXSW this year. Wingardís killers, who wear surprisingly chilling animal masks throughout the film, are set up perfectly from the start, as itís established early on that they have the entire estate on lockdown and have managed to infiltrate every square inch. Itís made abundantly clear to the audience that the monsters can attack from anywhere at any time, and itís always a shock when they do. Unlike Evil Dead, however, the violence isnít comically over the top and instead very realistic, only making the events more horrifying. Mixed with great pacing and excellent camera work itís one of the scariest horror films to come out in years.

Though it would be inappropriate to label Youíre Next as a horror comedy, as the movie doesnít spend a whole lot of time making jokes or winking at the audience, donít think that means it isnít one hell of a fun ride. The scares are so effective, bloody and intense that you canít help by giggle afterwards as a reflex, but really itís just incredibly entertaining to watch the story play out. The attackers are so terrifying and vicious that the audience canít wait to see their comeuppance messing with the wrong house, and Wingard delivers some wonderful vengeance, filled with creativity and cleverness that will have audiences cheering.

Without giving anything away, I will say that I was moderately disappointed by some of the big third act reveals but ultimately theyíre forgivable just because of how entertaining and effective everything else in the film is. Youíre Next may not revolutionize the home invasion thriller, but it stands up just because of how it plays with established elements of the subgenre. Itís all about the execution, and I mean that in every sense of the word.

For more of our SXSW 2013 coverage, click HERE.
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