As we parked and made our way to the theater to catch You’re Next we were welcomed by a live Flaming Lips performance happening in the distance. Do You Realize?? ethereally echoed through the cool night air, making an already relaxing night even more sedative. A short time later, You’re Next changed everything.
You’re Next is a home invasion movie directed by Adam Wingard. That’s the extent of knowledge I allowed myself to possess coming into my first (and last) SXSW 2013 screening. Turns out, it stars Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Barbara Crampton, and Rob Moran, to name just a few. From the jump, the tension You’re Next delivers is top notch. Large (sometimes open) windows and dark spaces are used to great effect. The notion of someone peering into our homes from the darkness is quite unnerving, the thought that they’re actually in the house as well, is absolutely frightening.
The first twenty or so minutes of You’re Next are amazing, moving at a breakneck pace. It’s chaotic, humorous, violent, legitimately terrifying, and completely my kind of movie. I felt it lost steam a bit when motive was introduced, the violence becomes less brutal once we know why the masked killers are there. There also seemed to be a tonal shift toward the final third of the movie that felt a bit uneven, as well as a few info-dumpy scenes. That said, I am a fan of this movie. I can see why it garnered so much praise as it made the festival rounds over the past few years. The acting is solid and elevates the writing to another level. As always, AJ Bowen is charismatic and fun to watch. Sharni Vinson kicks ass as the female lead, Erin. Swanberg’s character is easy to dislike, but played so well that you can’t help but root for him. And naturally, seeing Barbara Crampton on the big screen was an unexpected treat. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sound design and score. Each creaking floorboard and ambient audio punctuation compounded the dread, making for a jarring aural experience that mirrored the visuals. Throbbing synths laced the Carpenter-esque score, bringing to mind Assault on Precinct 13 more than a few times, which is obviously a positive.
To put it succinctly, You’re Next is a must see for any horror fan, which shouldn’t be too hard as the movie’s been acquired by Lionsgate, and opens wide in theaters this August. I’m really excited to see this movie reach its intended audience and do as well as I anticipate it should.