BLU-RAY REVIEW: You’re Next
Everything You Expect From A Good Horror Movie - Now On Blu-ray...
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There are several things I look forward to in a good horror movie, especially in a slasher: ample amounts of gore, a decent body count, some unique kills, a few good scares and most importantly, an interesting story or plot twist. T&A is a bonus, but not required. It’s a recipe that many films deliver with varying degrees of success. Heavy violence with no real substance gives you something like 2013’s Evil Dead remake, while a promising idea coupled with disappointing carnage can bring out The Purge.
Thankfully, there was one horror movie last year that hit all the right buttons for me. Released by Lionsgate Films and directed by Adam Wingard, You’re Next is a unique take on the “home invasion” horror sub-genre. Where films such as Funny Games and The Strangers shocked audiences by erasing all sense of hope, You’re Next entices viewers with a silver lining made of sweet revenge.
Sharni Vinson stars as Erin, the girlfriend of Crispian Davison (A. J. Bowen) whose wealthy parents have invited them for a rare family reunion at their remote Missouri vacation mansion. Soon the couple and Crispian’s parents are joined by the rest of the Davison clan, along with their significant others. The cast quickly fills up to ten potential victims, or so the audience is led to believe. When the boyfriend of Crispian’s sister is brutally shot in the head with a crossbow bolt during dinner, the movie’s slow and deliberate set-up explodes into one of breathless bloodshed. The killers, creepy animal-masked hunters, are systematically taking down the Davison family one-by-one. How many are there? Who are they and what do they want? At this point in the movie, You’re Next is a home invasion thriller full of suspense and grisly deaths by axes, crossbows and machetes.
And then the magic happens; a brilliant mid-story plot twist that establishes You’re Next as a true horror classic.
To say more is to ruin the surprise, but I will say that You’re Next does an excellent job at fulfilling my horror movie formula. A high body count? Check. Unique kills? I’ve never seen a blender used to murder someone! Scares? There are a few good jumping out jolts and a great under-the-bed moment. As mentioned, the animal masks are uber creepy. T&A? You’re Next even throws in some of that as an opening bonus.
You’re Next has a unique color palette of muted earth tones and nighttime blacks. Despite this, the Blu-ray transfer of You’re Next is strong, the 2.40:1 AVC-encoded image providing crisp detail in the (mostly) shadowy scenes and a warm clarity in the occasionally lit environment. As to be expected, the use of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 provides for creepy clear sound, from the sickening thump of an axe to the head to the Dwight Twilley Band’s contagious "Looking for the Magic" looped throughout the movie. Trust me, you’ll be humming the tune well after the credits roll, it’s like a character unto itself.
Bonus features are sparse, especially for a Blu-ray release. For those that enjoy digging deeper into a film on repeated viewings, there’s the obligatory audio commentary. Viewers have their choice of listening to director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett discuss their inventive creation or hearing the two reminiscence on the film with actors Sharni Vinson and Barbara Crampton, the latter clearly passionate about their roles and what You’re Next brings to the horror genre. Where the audio commentary adds informative entertainment to a second screening, the feature “No Ordinary Home Invasion: The Making Of You’re Next” comes across as unnecessary filler. Shot on set, the “making of” leans too heavily on film footage (“Hey, didn’t I just watch that?”), the extra coming across more like a promo piece (which it most likely was). I’m rather shocked that Lionsgate didn’t include a "Looking for the Magic" music video or at least a clip explaining the song's unusual use in the film. You know Dwight Twilley must be proud of his newfound fame.
You’re Next doesn’t reinvent the horror wheel, but the film’s clever mid-story twist ensures it a future as a horror classic. You’re Next is everything I expect from a good horror movie, a slasher with brains... well at least until you scramble those brains with a blender. I only have one real concern: While the ending to You’re Next is satisfying, it unfortunately allows room for a sequel (and the $25 million return on a $1 million film almost guarantees it). You’re Next Too? Please pass the blender...
You're Next is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD wherever fine home video is sold. You're Next is Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Review by Jeff Saylor