One rule I made going into “No Sleep October” is that I wouldn’t watch any home invasion movies. Monsters? Sure. Gore? Sure. Demons, ghosts, possessions, evil STDs? Right on.
But nothing involving home invasions. Nothing that feels potentially real. I’m downright terrified of the real world as it is.
Naturally, I decided to watch “You’re Next.” I was told it isn’t a standard home invasion movie and that I’d feel a lot more comfortable as the story progressed. That was true!
It still made me nervous anyway because I am a coward.
“You’re Next” is about the Davison family being hunted down in their family vacation home by gang of three animal-masked murderers. Unfortunately, Erin (Sharni Vinson), the girlfriend of Crisipan Davison (A.J. Bowen), is a badass trained survivalist who helps turn the tables on the attackers.
The first third of the movie was pretty intense, as the family bloodletting became more and more violent. I didn’t enjoy that. When Erin starts to kick ass, “You’re Next” becomes much more of a thriller, not unlike “The Guest,” director Adam Wingard’s second movie. I also watched “The Guest,” which I enjoyed more than “You’re Next.”
Let’s briefly talk about Erin. She’s a great protagonist because although on the surface she’s a “pretty young woman fights off masked villains” character, there isn’t any sexual subtext to her fight. She’s never sexualized, and she’s never defined by her relationship to the men in the movie.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve watched way too many horror movies from every other decade besides right now (and plenty of them from right now), but this made Erin really stand out to me. Maybe it’s also because all the other women in the movie are in some way depicted as sexually available visually or through dialogue. It’s not that “You’re Next” is sexless (or that Erin is inherently sexless), but she’s a female protagonist who is not defined by the usual horror archetypes. It’s refreshing, and the best part of the movie.
Other good stuff? The soundtrack is aces, and not overused. The kills are gruesome and disturbing — a lot of graphic throat-slitting. It clocks in at a near-perfect 95 minutes. The dark humor of the final scene is perfect and made me laugh out loud. I’m sure I’m late to the party on this one (like every other horror film released in the last forever), but “You’re Next” is a solid keeper, and definitely safe for those who can’t take the “home invasion” plot with any kind of grit.