[Review] – You are next
You are next is one movie that manages to break through the cliché of home-invasion type of movie and successfully offers the audience something fresh and unexpected. Director Adam Wingard has been on a roll with the refreshing string of independent movies he’s been directing: You are next, V/H/S, and The Guest. Like You are next, his movies have high- quality content and execution, a combination that serves as a nice hook to capture our attention throughout.
The movie begins with a mysterious murder that keeps us intrigued to look for the explanation for that very brief first bloody act. However, in the first half of the movie, we have almost no clues at all. The first murder appears to be unrelated to what happens afterwards. The characters are later introduced in a seemingly separate setting, and have a great time at their own reunion party, with Erin as the main focus. Thus, the suspense factor is maintained and serves as a great basis for tension to gradually build up and break out later. The fact that the first half of the movie keeps the audience totally in the dark as to what actually is happening might ring a bell to one’s previous experience with slasher movies. Very often, we do not get to know who’s behind all the murders and the reasons why they do so. The answer to this question is considered a given that there’s no actual reason behind all these brutality. However, You Are Next soon breaks this cliche formula in the second half of the movie.
The first and the second half are in stark contrast in terms of pacing and development. As one unusual event suddenly disrupts the normal, consistent flow of the warm and cheerful reunion, everything gets messed up. The rhythm of the plot becomes more hasty and nerve-wracking as three more intruders step in and terrify the rest of our characters. But from this somewhat predictable turn comes a really refreshing storyline. It is a pleasing surprise for the audience to see a nice upgrade from the overused trope of home-invasion with frustratingly helpless characters.
Nothing holds the killer from going all out in taking people’s lives. But the portrayal of these killers is different. The masked hunters gradually leave bits and pieces of their true human identity under their disguise as ruthless animals. This difference deviates from the often mysterious, suspenseful invasion killers we get from other movies. Not only that, the killers from other slashers are also made to be an invicible and powerful force. In You are next, however, the audience will be prone to conceive the three killers as separate individuals rather than a unified terror. And as their real identities are actually revealed, something we do not often witness, the truth behind the massacre is unveiled.
You are next is totally a ride of emotions. It keeps us on edges, but it also keeps us entertained in very unexpected ways. The action scenes come out really well, mainly because of its creative nature rather than advanced cinematographers. The fighting scene in the basement, in my opinion, is especially neat and effective. In this special slasher, the audience actually is given a chance to feel like they have the authority and control of what’s happening, rather than feeling helpless as they witness the characters die one by one. You are next successfully gives an answer to a very potential What-if question when we watch the repetitive slashers in the past: what if our characters actually make an effort to save themselves. Because not many movie invests in this aspects, You are next scores a point in its difference from others of the same genre. The director tries not to be serious or invest too much in his attempt to solve the question, and ends up creating a huge success by following through with his own style of filmmaking.
I highly recommend this movie if you want to see something refreshing in the home-invasion subgenre!