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When a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped... until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all.
For more about You're Next and the You're Next Blu-ray release, see You're Next Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 15, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, AJ Bowen, Wendy Glenn, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz
» See full cast & crew
You're Next Blu-ray Review
No, please. . .you go first.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 15, 2014
At least this time it isn't teenagers who are mercilessly slaughtered after a healthy dose of sexual romping. And that may be the single greatest clue offering a summation of what to expect in You're Next, an extremely graphic but often darkly humorous horror film that combines elements of a typical home invasion thriller with a comical look at family dysfunction that plays like something Woody Allen might have come up on a particularly twisted bender. The film starts with a couple doing the nasty (rather enthusiastically, it might be added) in an isolated country mansion (is there any other kind in this type of film?). While the man takes a post-coital shower, the woman ventures downstairs, where she's surprised to find a patio door open. She closes it, and puts a CD on the player, pressing the "repeat" button. She mixes up what appears to be a screwdriver, and sits down to take a sip. And then the carnage begins. We don't actually glimpse much of what happens to the poor lass, but when the male exits the shower, he finds the charming message "You're next" scrawled in blood on his bedroom mirror. And of course within mere seconds that epitaph comes true. And so You're Next reveals both what it will and will not be. The film is rather deeply ensconced in any number of traditional horror movie tropes, but it revisits many of them in at least slightly skewed or unexpected ways. You're Next is rife with plenty of gore, but the real allure here, at least for those who don't necessarily like to wallow in blood and guts, is the often breezily snarky interplay between a large family that has gathered for a reunion which ends in absolute carnage all around.
The opening sequence establishes a couple of other parameters as well, including yet another familiar horror movie trope: intruders wearing animal masks. But the victims of that segment turn out to be also-rans in the ultimate scope of the film. It turns out they simply live next door to the "target" family, the wealthy Davison clan. Were these initial murders simply a trial run, or is there something more nefarious at play? You're Next takes the unusual structural step of waiting nearly a half hour before any further answers (let alone carnage) are forthcoming.
The next half hour (more or less) is in fact given hour to introducing the rather extended Davison clan. First up are mom and dad, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Rob Moran), who arrive at their rather luxe vacation mansion first in order to open it up and get it ready for the arrival of their kids. Only—it's already open. Cue spooky low frequency rumble (this film is rife with such sonic effects). Aubrey suffers from some sort of unexplained emotional malady, and is medicated, so when she claims to hear someone upstairs, Paul doesn't take her seriously. He has her wait outside, though, just to be safe, while he searches the labyrinthine upper stories of the home. That leads to the first cheap shock of the film, when a quickly opened door reveals—Crispian (A.J.Bowen), one of the Davison's sons. He's arrived with his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) and is wondering why Mom is out in the driveway crying.
Soon the rest of the clan starts arriving, temporarily helping Aubrey to overcome her anxiety. There are two other brothers, Drake (Joe Swanberg) and Felix (Nicholas Tucci), accompanied by Drake's wife Kelly (Margaret Laney) and Felix's girlfriend Zee (Wendy Glenn). Also on hand is the Davison's only daughter Aimee (Amy Seimetz), who brings along her boyfriend Tariq (Ti West). It's apparent almost immediately that there's a fair amount of overall family dysfunction, and especially some sibling rivalry between the three Davison brothers. Things break out into a rather heated (but funny) verbal melée during dinner until suddenly an arrow crashes through the dining room window and ends its trajectory smack dab in the middle of one character's forehead. Within mere seconds another character gets a second quiver buried deep in his back. Needless to say, this is more than enough to reignite Aubrey's anxieties, but rather hilariously, it also brings to the fore all sorts of simmering disputes between the Davison children and they all attempt to deal with the disaster.
It's at this point that the humor begins to take somewhat of a backseat in the proceedings as one after the other of the Davisons (and their hangers-on) meet their fates in sometimes extremely graphic ways. Some of the victims die trying to escape while others, of course, are surprised by the animal mask intruders who are lurking in the very dark shadows of the home. The film perhaps suffers just a bit from this tonal left turn, though there are a couple of very funny (if rather disturbing) scenes later in the film, especially one where a certain culprit is trying to dispatch a victim and it takes a bit more effort than was initially assumed. "Would you just hurry up and die already?," the perpetrator asks impetuously, "this is already hard enough for me".
You're Next isn't particularly surprising, but it's often a lot of fun, especially when it turns out that Erin has had an upbringing as a survivalist and isn't about to go gentle into that not very good night. A cat and mouse (or perhaps more appropriately, fox, sheep and mouse) game ensues, with Erin rigging the house up with a variety of ingenious booby traps that help to level the playing field. (There's another very funny, but extremely gruesome, scene, where she dispatches one of the invaders while two of the Davisons look on in abject horror. "Thanks so much for your help," she says as she rises with a bloody brick in her hand, which she's just used to bash in the skull of the bad guy.)
According to quite a bit of online reportage, You're Next evidently had a somewhat tortured gestational period, with primary shooting wrapping in 2011 but no wide release date scheduled until 2013 (after some initial festival screenings in 2011). If there was worry attached to this release, there really needn't have been any. The film found an audience, and its paltry budget meant it turned a rather handsome profit, something that should only be increased by this Blu-ray release. There's nothing new under the sun, as the old saying goes, but occasionally it's possible to throw a little new light on a very old genre, and that's exactly what You're Next manages to do.
You're Next Blu-ray, Video Quality
You're Next is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1. The first thing that has to be accepted with this Red One shot feature is that a lot of the film (especially the last two thirds) plays out in near total darkness. That's an intentional gambit on the part of the filmmakers and something that of course increases the anxiety levels to near Aubrey levels, as suddenly a figure will emerge from the shadows and wreak havoc. That said, shadow detail, while perhaps intentionally dialed back, is at least reasonable, and no overt noise affects the image. Contrast is also quite good, especially evident in a spectacular sequence where a camera's flash is set to go off repeatedly in a completely darkened environment. The brightly lit sequences, as few as they are, reveal an image that is sharp and well defined, if not overly colorful (the film has been intentionally color graded to a rather bland palette quite a bit of the time).
You're Next Blu-ray, Audio Quality
You're Next features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that provides a lot of fun, as well as a few cheap scares, along the way. The first victims had set a CD on repeat before their gory demise, and that tune recurs throughout the film like a nightmare radio broadcast. But several of the attack sequences feature great foley effects, and even though the bulk of the film takes place within the confines of the Davison home, there's good attention paid to discrete channelization not only for effects but even for dialogue. There's a recurrent low frequency rumble that attends several horrific moments in the film that also sounds nicely subliminal.
You're Next Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
You're Next Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
You're Next isn't especially innovative, but it's well crafted and it features both horror and humor in about equal doses. There are a couple of ham handed moments here (notably a late "reveal" which isn't all that revelatory), but the bulk of this film provides suitable shivers along with a couple of belly laughs. Recommended.
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You're Next Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: You're Next - January 15, 2014
Blu-ray.com and Lionsgate Films are offering one member a chance to win a copy of You're Next. This home invasion horror thriller also has a decided comedic edge and has attracted considerable attention. You're Next streets on January 14.
• This Week on Blu-ray: January 14-21 - January 12, 2014
For the week of January 14th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment streets Riddick on Blu-ray. Other titles include Fox's Enough Said, the docudrama The Butler, Lionsgate's You're Next, The Spectacular Now, and Pride and Prejudice releases, and Criterion's Rififi ...
• You're Next Blu-ray - October 24, 2013
Lionsgate Films has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of director Adam Wingard's You're Next (2011), starring Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, and Wendy Glenn. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores across ...
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