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You might find difficulty being eloquent when it comes to
navigating and expressing thoughts on YOU'RE NEXT. If so, it’s because the
literal buzzing you're left with, upon its end, gives you essentially one word:
great. YOU'RE NEXT is great.
Just as the home invasion resurgence begins to wear out its
welcome, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett (A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE) have crafted a surprise; something fun.
Eschewing the standard devastation and harrowing beat-downs we've become
accustomed to, the immensely clever script by Barret and equally smart
direction by Wingard is assured, witty and expertly subverts expectations in a
way that absolutely slays a packed house.
Easily, one of the smartest moves is cast and crew. As
YOU'RE NEXT is about the deadly siege on a dysfunctional family reunion, the
familial atmosphere of the writer/director as well as past collaborators and
friends gives the film a real energy and chemistry, only aided by constant, crowd-pleasing forward motion. AJ Bowen stars
as Crispian, bringing his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) to celebrate his
parents’ (Rob Moran and Barbara Crampton) anniversary along with his sister,
her boyfriend (Amy Seimetz and Ti West) and two brothers and their respective
sweethearts (Joe Swanberg and Margaret Laney and Nicholas Tucci and Wendy Glenn)
in a scenic country home. The chaos hits early on and it's a real testament to
the talent on display-both acting and script-that the relationships can be
clearly, yet minimally defined perfectly enough beforehand (and happily
continue to do so midst the bloodbath).
It starts with an arrow. The animal-masked intruders unload
their crossbows during a particularly tense dinner, one moment of many in which
indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg proceeds to steal scenes with his smarmy
performance as young Republican, Drake. And while Swanberg is most definitely a
standout of the ensemble, YOU'RE NEXT absolutely belongs to Sharni Vinson.
Vinson's Erin has something up her sleeve for the threat
outside and it’s this quality, as well as her fierce performance that leads the
character and actress to undoubtedly be the best final girl in years. What’s
more is that Vinson’s confidence on screen gives the audience not only
something to cheer for, but is genuinely believable. Vinson sells every moment of
her resistance, grounding a lot of the mayhem that spills around her.
What’s surprising about YOU’RE NEXT is just how seriously
funny it is. In another assurance of the chops involved, the film strikes an
amazing balance rarely seen in contemporary horror. The atmosphere is thick,
real tension and startling violence, but within it all are some amazing pieces
of dialogue and visual gags that in any other hands, may not have worked.
YOU’RE NEXT looks and feels huge, and it deserves to be. It’s
home invasion by Agatha Christie; wildly fun, bloody and devious. Put simply, it’s
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