Indie Horror-thon: You’re Next (2011)

Produced with a $1 million budget, You’re Next provides more sick laughs and clever scares than any horror thriller of recent past. The Adam Wingard-directed gem takes the classic home invasion premise and improves on it in every single way.

You’re Next was filmed in 2011 at a mansion in Columbia, Missouri. The filming process took place over four weeks, and were mostly night shoots filmed from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The film had its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness program. It went on to make $25 million when it received a wider US release.

The film opens with a young couple who have sex and are subsequently murdered by a blade-wielding intruder with a lamb mask. “You’re Next” is shown written in blood on the wall in a manner reminiscent of 80’s and 90’s slasher films. Then the movie shifts to four grown siblings (and their significant others) visiting their parent’s vacation mansion.

The family is dysfunctional from the start, and it’s generally laugh-out-loud funny to watch each family member lodge passive aggressive remarks towards each other, while trying to enjoy a civilized meal at this family reunion. Then to make matters worse, masked men begin shooting crossbows at the family through the windows.

What begins as a bleak display of torment– skillful murders attack a helpless, unarmed family– grows more intriguing when Erin (girlfriend of one of the brothers) reveals her astonishing and curious talent for combating armed intruders. Erin gives You’re Next someone to root for in a ten-person cast of otherwise unlikable (but engaging) characters.

You’re Next provides plenty of gore and clever fatalities. But like the film’s characters, plot and dialog, the deaths and reactions they invoke are significantly smarter than your average slasher film. Erin, played by Australian actress Sharni Vinson, keeps the film focused and structured on survival. Vinson’s performance is outstanding, and her transition from well-mannered girlfriend to ruthless heroine is superb.

Even after the blood starts pouring, there are laughs to be had throughout the film’s 94-minute run time. The unexpected moments of gleeful terror and dramatic twists keep You’re Next a jumpy and thrilling ride. From the introductory scene to the sickly gratifying final shot, this low-budget effort is consistently enticing with enough surprises to spare.

You’re Next is arguably the greatest home invasion horror film of all time and a must-watch for all slasher fans.

You’re Next is available to order on Amazon right here.

Barry Falls Jr
Barry was the managing editor of his university newspaper before contributing as a freelance content creator for Yahoo News and Esquire. He founded Horror Theory in 2014 to analyze horror films through a sociological lens.

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