‘You’re Next’: The Reviews Are In!

The last of the summer's horror offerings provides a surprisingly fresh take on the seen-it-all-before home-invasion premise.

Following a summer packed with horror hits like “The Conjuring” and “World War Z” comes a third bloodfest worthy of joining their ranks. “You’re Next,” a long-delayed slasher film from director Adam Wingard (“V/H/S”) and writer Simon Barrett, places a squabbling family of well-off one-percenters in the anniversary party from hell when a group of creepily masked marauders arrive. Australian actress Sharni Vinson emerges as a force to be reckoned with during the film’s mayhem, possibly heralding the arrival of a new scream queen.

While the film might use many tropes associated with other home-invasion and slasher films, critics are united in their praise for Wingard and Barrett’s deconstruction and subversion of the ubiquitous genres. The film is packed with creative kills, characters you love to hate and genuine laughs — all of which make it a likely heir to the successful “Scream” franchise. In a summer already filled with critically and commercially successful horror films, it looks like “You’re Next” could be the real victor.

Here’s what critics are saying about “You’re Next”:

A Triumphant Throwback
“‘You’re Next’ is a throwback, this time to the smarty-pants verbosity of the ‘Scream’ era … Wingard milks door-creeping suspense for all it’s got, and when the script takes a turn toward devious backstabbing, there’s relish in it. Nothing here is new, but you can’t call expert craft like this warmed-over. Solidly satisfying with ruthless forward momentum, the film plays like a minor triumph.” — Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

Watch Out For Sharni Vinson
“But the real badass of ‘You’re Next’ is the tanned and whippet-tough Erin, played by Vinson, an Australian starlet best known for dancing with a Slurpee in ‘Step Up 3D’ … Thanks to a tough Outback upbringing 10,000 miles away from the prep schools that sheltered her cowardly bearded boyfriend, Erin is the only girl who didn’t wear heels to dinner, and the only victim who knows how to fight back. Not that her blue collar heroics go appreciated by anyone besides the audience: When she bashes a villain’s brains on the floor, the aghast family looks at her as though she’s used the wrong fork.” — Amy Nicholson, Village Voice

A Cut Above the Norm
“There may be no great originality on display in ‘You’re Next,’ the latest indie horror opus from Adam Wingard (‘A Horrible Way to Die,’ ‘Pop Skull’), but there’s certainly plenty of energy. Once brief preliminaries are over, this tale of a wealthy family under siege at the requisite isolated country home offers genre fans what they came for in terms of high-body-count mayhem … ‘You’re Next’ is fairly light on psychological and narrative complexity, but it’s still a good cut above the slasher norm, with a firm grasp on visceral action and the wisdom to place tongue slightly in cheek when things go further over the top.” — Dennis Harvey, Variety

Sticks the Landing
“Even more remarkable is Wingard’s understanding that answering horrific, seemingly senseless carnage with a second half that reveals a smart, tough, resourceful hero [played by Vinson] is the shrewdest way to keep an ongoing bloodbath cathartically enjoyable. In other words, there’s a wickedly energized purity at play in ‘You’re Next,’ making it an agreeably disreputable good time.” — Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

Expect the Unexpected
“The film’s true strength lies not in its gallows humor, but in how it both plays to and subverts expectations: Though the big twist arrives not a moment too soon, right around the time that Wingard has exhausted his basic scenario, there’s plenty of pleasure in anticipating some of the more inevitable money shots — as when, for a grisly example, one character gets a running start on her own demise.” — A.A.Dowd, AV Club

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