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DVD Review

DVD cover

You're Next


Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen and Joe Swanberg
Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 13 January 2014

A man takes his girlfriend to the secluded Davison family estate of his parents, to celebrate the older couple’s 35th wedding anniversary. Also there, are a number of other adult family siblings and their partners. They have barely settled down for their first celebratory dinner, however, when a crossbow arrow comes in through the window from outside and hits one of the guests in the back. This marks the beginning of a relentless violent and deadly onslaught on the occupants of the house at the hands of unknown individuals donned in animal masks. The young Australian girlfriend immediately takes charge - attempting to defend the others and even fight back. But what is the ultimate motive of the attackers? Is it simply to instil terror and dispatch everyone in the house? Or is there another unknown objective...?

The DVD and Blu-ray releases of this film have undergone quite an intensive TV advertising campaign recently. Directed by Alan Wingard, it comes from the creative minds behind VHS, its sequel VHS2, and A Horrible Way to Die. To be brutally honest, nothing very much happens for the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the movie. It can be argued that the characters are being set up to be knocked down. However, there’s not much evidence of viewer identification with any of the cannon fodder on display. It is only after the mother hears footsteps upstairs that events begin to get going. The first section of the script appears to take the approach of a home invasion scenario. It reminded me somewhat of German filmmaker Michael Haneke’s Funny Games; it’s curious I should bring that to mind when, in one of the commentaries, the writer and director of You’re Next invoke the name of the same film. Thankfully, this one doesn’t keep strictly to that theme, but veers off sharply into slasher territory.

It’s a much more enjoyable experience to watch from this point on. The young woman with survivalist skills is reminiscent of Joe R. Lansdale’s classic short story, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road, and in this case depends rather heavily on her boyfriend not being aware of them. The kills are nicely handled, being sometimes sudden and brutal, and at others purposefully drawn-out. The director has mentioned the presence of humour in the plot and situations. Not obvious set pieces (the whole thing is played very straight and serious), but little nuances. There was only one which made me smile: one of the masked men kills a middle-aged man in a neighbouring house, before sitting on the sofa next to him. It just looks so bizarre. There are a couple of points which didn’t make much sense. Why mark in blood on the wall "You’re Next"? It certainly doesn’t tie-in with the reason for the assault, which we discover near the conclusion of the film. It must surely be a time-line continuity error when the mother screams before being dispatched, and the others take seconds to dart up the stairs to investigate, and in that time the killer has had time to spell out "You’re Next" in elaborate blood-red lettering on the wall and then hide.

So, it has its shortfalls, but You’re Next is a pretty good film once it gets going. Extras are a little thin on the ground. There are two commentaries: one with the writer and director, and one with those two plus two of the cast. The making of… documentary is disappointingly short at only ten minutes.


Ty Power

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