This Schlocktober, Comics Bulletin will be exploring the world of horror cinema, featuring thirty one notable films released between Halloween 2012 and Halloween 2013. Next up is director Adam Wingard‘s You’re Next.
The creative team of Simon Barrett (writer) and Adam Wingard (director) return to the big screen with their first feature length horror film since 2008’s A Horrible Way to Die — which you should all go see as soon as you can — but it should have been out two years ago. Lionsgate acquired the film for US, British, and Canadian distribution rights back in 2011, but for some reason it only hit theaters in August of 2013.
That’s some bullshit right there.
Because despite my disappointment with their V/H/S 2 output, You’re Next kicked all sorts of ass. It takes the home invasion idea that was used so ineffectively in The Purge (and any number of other horror films over the past few years) and does something both interesting and entertaining with it. I know there’s a school of thought that thinks motiveless killers are extra scary because they’re so random, but really, if you ask me, that’s no scarier than a car wreck or sickness — which are plenty scary when they happen, but aren’t things you can worry about daily and stay sane.
But knowing someone who wants to kill you and doesn’t mind hiring somebody to do it? That’s creepy.
In addition to that twist on the genre, Barrett’s script is just funny. There are laugh-out-loud moments in this film, which are immediately punctuated by over-the-top gore. Something that a lot of critics missed when this film was finally released was that it was a bit of a parody while maintaining an effective fright level. That’s hard to balance and usually leans way too far one way or the other.
And I don’t know about you, but I appreciate when low-budget film makers get together and contribute to each other’s work. Three young film makers appear in You’re Next, Ti West, Amy Seimetz, and Joe Swanberg, and help to provide a real sense of camaraderie among the indie scene. Australian actress Sharni Vinson has the lead here, though and nails it.
I can’t help but wonder if her character’s backstory was an addition to the script after she was cast or if it was planned that way from the beginning.
Anyway, this one was fun, scary, and had the best use of a blender in a murder scene that I can remember.
See our previous review of You’re Next here.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor/editor for Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is available at Amazon US & UK, along with his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation (US & UK). He recently contributed the 1989 chapter to The American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s (US & UK) and has kicked off Comics Bulletin Books with Mondo Marvel Volumes One (US & UK) and Two (US & UK). Paul is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy.