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SXSW 2013 Movie Review: Adam Wingard’s You’re Next
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You’re Next
Director: Adam Wingard
Screenwriter: Simon Barrett
Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Barbara Crampton, Amy Seimetz, Ti West

Synopsis: One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, You’re Next reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist on home-invasion horror. 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.Lionsgate

Directed by Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, V/H/S), You’re Next had its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival only to collect dust on a shelf for two years. Luckily, after a successful screening at this year’s South by Southwest film Festival, Wingard’s home-invasion horror flick will be released by Lionsgate in August.

The movie follows Crispian Davidson (A.J. Bowen, The House of the Devil) as he brings his new girlfriend (Sharni Vinson) along to celebrate his parent’s wedding anniversary. The family’s reunion is derailed, however, when a gang of murders in creepy animal masks begin to hunt the family down one by one with brutal precision. Unfortunately for the killers, one of the “victims” harbors a secret talent for fighting back.

You’re Next is a smart, scary, altogether hilarious take on the horror genre that cleverly subverts expectations and plays with the genre’s cliches to create a love letter to ’80s slasher movies. Joining A.J. Bowen are Ti West (director of The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers) and Joe Swanberg (who directed and starred in a segment of V/H/S). Throw in scream queen Barbara Crampton (Chopping Mall, Puppet Master) and you’ve got a spirited cast for this Cabin in the Woods-esque send-up of horror.

You’re Next is kind of like Die Hard meets Home Alone meets Them if it was directed by ’80s John Carpenter. Amongst the family is a survivalist expert who does everything right that so many slasher victims do wrong. The expert doesn’t run upstairs – doesn’t trip in the woods – instead they immediately survey the situation and batten down the hatches – rigging up traps and securing weapons for the family as they attempt to survive the attack. Imagine John McClane mixed with Ellen Ripley and you’ve got an idea of how bad-ass this character is.

If this year’s SXSW program is of any indication, 2013 is going to be a good year for horror fans: V/H/S 2, Evil Dead, The Lords of Salem, You’re Next – there’s plenty to look forward to this year, and who knows, maybe audiences will have more to choose from than just the next Paranormal Activity or shitty exorcism/possession movie come October. If you get the chance to see You’re Next, don’t pass it up – it’s an endlessly entertaining horror-comedy with genuine scares and big laughs.

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PS: Random thought: You’re Next kind of feels like The Strangers mixed with Clue.

PSS: Those creepy animal masks are REALLY creepy, but nowhere near as terrifying as this.

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