Gut-reaction reviews after theatrical screenings often give me the opportunity to stick by my initial reactions and not overcomplicate thoughts, but in the same respect, embracing films a second time for their Blu-Ray reviews presents the opportunity for reevaluation. Some films benefit from a second watch, as finer details and deeper intricacies can sometimes be missed on a viewer’s first go around, but other times we realize that movies we initially loved just don’t have the repeat watchability expected.
You’re Next, one of my favorite horror movies of 2013, is the most recent gem I had the pleasure of revisiting, and despite initial fears that Adam Wingard’s film would pack less of a punch knowing all its secrets from the very first scene, my second watch was filled with just as many laughs and screams as my original screening. This home invasion thriller asserts its longevity by creating an atmosphere unlike similar genre films, avoiding overly-serious horror while establishing a tense, violent environment where danger lurks around every corner. Simon Barrett’s twisted script cues up memorable horror kills and an engrossing horror mystery, and it’s Wingard’s steadfast vision that brings Barrett’s rich screenplay to life.
You’re Next is every dysfunctional family’s isolated vacation gone wrong, as pure greed brings a crew of masked party-crashers to a large Victorian house where their target and his loved ones are currently celebrating. There’s already palpable tension between certain brothers and other family extensions, nothing more than typical sibling rivalries, but when the first crossbow arrow flies through the dining room window, every decision becomes a plea for survival amidst the bickering group. To make things worse, our invading “animals” continually prove they’re to be avoided at all costs, as characters die in the grisliest of fashions. With the body count rising, girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) steps up as leader with her unbeknownst survivalist knowledge, and presents a more formidable challenge than expected for our murderous guests – but will it be enough?
I’ve already expressed my love for Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s beautiful subgenre work on You’re Next with my theatrical review, so I’m going to keep my analysis to a minimum concerning its Blu-Ray release. Everything created still holds up with a repeat viewing, except this time I could comfortably enjoy watching the gruesome action in my pajamas. If you’re looking for my down-and-dirty cinematic musings, please do digest my theatrical review, which goes considerably more in depth.
For my SparkNotes version, I’m going to spotlight Sharni Vinson’s leading role as Erin, “survivor girl” extraordinaire, who brings a strong intensity like a steroid-taking wolf in sheep’s clothing. There’s a brilliant moment where she switches from supporting character to hero in the blink of an eye, yet the transition is seamless and intriguing. On minute Vinson is nothing but some charming arm candy, and the next she’s leading a group of terrified victims around an antique-filled deathtrap. Vinson does so with an entrancing beauty and a commanding presence, rivaling some of the iconic scream queens in recent memory (Danielle Harris, Sheri Moon Zombie, ect). Barrett scripts a character worthy of such a badass explosion, so give credit to the man who envisioned Erin. It’s Sharni who brings her to life though and takes You’re Next to an entirely new level.
One does not enjoy You’re Next for a leading role alone, as Wingard and Barrett are able to blend a magnificent amount of dark comedy and horror brutality, complete with an eclectic score of haunting tunes that mirror such a cheeky, psychologically invading film. There’s a gleeful amount of fun to be had watching Erin and company fight off their attackers, attempting to turn the tables on the three men hellbent on killing every last family member, and throughout this chaos horror fans witness some of the best on-screen deaths of 2013. You’re Next doesn’t re-define the home invasion subgenre, but it does show how to properly utilize every inch of potential, making for a film that never lets down, thrills until the end, and has audiences begging for more.
As far as the Blu-Ray specs go, everything is technically sound. The conversion is crisp, high definition vibrant, sound clear, and experience full, which accompanies everything Wingard and Barrett dream up – specifically such an architecturally inviting house. All the woodwork, design details, trimmings, and visual pleasantries are captured via Wingard’s lens (love a director who gets behind the camera himself), injecting fresh new life into the dusty old house. Of course, then our director covers the abode with fake blood and booby traps, which rightfully accentuates everything with a bright, lively color.
While the film itself is a blast, there is a certain amount of disappointment that comes from such a lack of special features. Those who love commentaries will have two options to enjoy, one delivered by Adam Wingard and Simon Barret, the other including the two previous names with actresses Sharni Vinson and Barbara Crampton added to the mix. Aside from these two extra features, we’re only given “No Ordinary Home Invasion: The Making Of You’re Next” – an informative yet all-too-short look into the production of You’re Next. I would have loved a gag reel or extra alternate/deletes scenes at the least, but alas, the bonus material here is extremely bare bones.
Those who loved You’re Next in theaters should absolutely own this Blu-Ray, and those horror fans looking for something entertaining and original should rent Adam Wingard’s sure-fire winner immediately. As for the collectable fans, understand that there aren’t many additional incentives to bolster your personal collection besides film quality alone, so make the purchase at your own risk – but with a movie this damn good, the decision should still be a clear-cut one. Now, please excuse me while I put on a little Dwight Twilley, whip up a drink, and pray I don’t get my head axed open.
The Blu-Ray release of You're Next doesn't offer many additional incentives to attract "special feature" junkies, but with a movie this good, do we really care?