Film: You're Next

You're Next is a horror film directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett (V/H/S).

The Davisons are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, and they've invited all four of their kids: college professor Crispian, Jerkass Drake, lowlife Felix, and overly excitable Aimee. Their respective partners are along for the get-together: college student Erin; Drake's wife, Kelly; quiet girl Zee, and underground filmmaker Tariq.

No sooner has dinner started than the family's gotten into an argument, but in short order, the quarreling is interrupted by a crossbow attack by a group of people in animal masks. Luckily, Erin knows how to return the assault in kind...

Watch the trailer here.

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Erin.
    • To wit, when the killers first attack, she's the one to take control of the situation and advise everyone on how to escape the room safely. She's also by far the most proactive member of the group - did we mention that she's from Australia?
      • And to be quite frank, due to their improvised nature, her kills wind up being more gruesome than most of the killers' do.
  • Annoying Arrows: Played straight and also averted in different scenes. Tariq goes down with one bolt to his forehead. Drake takes his shot in the large muscles of the back and loses a lot of blood, but lives on for most of the movie.
  • An Axe to Grind: The sheep-masked killer carries one for his kills.
  • Awesome Aussie: Erin was raised in the Outback. It shows in both her attitude and her badassery.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Zee.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The killers.
  • Big Brother Bully: Drake
  • Black Comedy: There's a mix of horror and humor all over the place.
    • Two moments that stand out include when after Drake gets the arrow in the shoulder, he gets so doped up on painkillers, he barely notices the arrow still sticking out of him, leading to him pulling it out later without any care, fainting. and after Paul is killed, Felix and Zee just stare at his corpse while Fox Face just simply walks up next to them, scratching the back of his head like "Huh, sorry about that."
  • Booby Trap: The killers set up the razor wire outside the house. Erin rigs an axe trap and punji sticks for the door and windows.
  • Brick Joke: Averted, Then played straight in the darkest way as Erin rigs an axe trap to kill any unlucky bastard who opens the front door and Fox Face looks like he's gonna trigger it, only to go through a window instead. Guess what happens just before the credits when the cop who just arrived comes to check the house?
    • Similarly, when cornered in the kitchen, it looks like the pot of boiling water is about to come in handy... except enough time has passed that it's barely lukewarm. Then Felix slips on the slickened floor.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Even though crossbow bolts have come flying into the household and killed someone, the family resumes their argument from dinner while debating who should make a run for the car.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Enforced, as the killers are jamming the signal. Still, Erin is able to get out one text to 911. Then averted in the most ironic way later on when her cell phone rings confirms her text finally, only to catch the attention of the killers.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The reason for the killings? Felix wants to cash in on the insurance money, as well as the sizable severance package his father received.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Erin grew up on a survivalist compound due to her father's fear of an impending resource shortage.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The final credits have crime-scene photos of each of the characters, placed in the room of the house they were found in.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The killers use a cell phone jammer to prevent them from calling the cops. They also anticipate that someone is going to make a run for it, so they disable the vehicles, kill the neighbors, and stretch razor wire at neck level in front of the front door.
  • Death by Cameo: Ti West.
  • Deconstruction: Where to begin? Instead of a Final Girl who got an Adrenaline Makeover, she was raised by a Crazy Survivalist, allowing her to overcome the attackers. The first few kills are successful largely because the attackers have inside help, but their plans go increasingly Off the Rails. Rather than Made of Iron monsters, they're clearly just humans, and are perfectly vulnerable, and make numerous mistakes and miscalculations. At least one scene shows one of the killers being overpowered because he's outnumbered. One victim proves exceedingly difficult to kill, and has to be stabbed numerous times. The killings also turn out to be motivated purely by money, rather than the meaningless funzies generally expected from slasher movies.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Crispian starts off as the protagonist in the family drama. After it morphs into a slasher film, he disappears only to return as one of the Big Bads.
  • Dramatic Shattering: The windows get shattered multiple times by the killers.
  • Dissonant Serenity: After the sheep-masked killer finishes off Drake's wife, he sits down in the middle of his crime scene and begins grunting heavily.
  • Establishing Character Moment: During the initial crossbow assault, the family members use dining room chairs as shields while running past the windows. When its Erin' turn, she makes sure to grab a fire poker, too.
  • Evil All Along: Felix, Zee and Crispian.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The sheep-masked killer (Craig) completely snaps after his brother is killed.
  • Eye Scream: Crispian's death.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In the opening, the man comes out of the shower and sees "YOU'RE NEXT" painted in blood on his window... and only notices his girlfriend's body on the ground outside after reading the message.
  • Final Girl: Erin could be considered a Deconstructive Parody of one. While at first she appears to be a normal variety, it quickly turns out that she is not only an Action Survivor, but also came from a Crazy Survivalist background. It reaches the point where the remaining masked killers are scared of her. It's also heavily implied that she will be arrested after the events of the movie for the people she killed, if she survives her wound.
  • Foreshadowing: "Dammit Felix!" I knew you were into some sketchy shit!
    • Also Felix being the first to call out about the phone jammers, even down to the point about knowing they're illegal and how much they cost. It's revealed later on that he brought the jammer and was in his car, which after he turned it off, Erin's cell worked.
    • It was also Felix's idea to have someone make a run for it outside to go find help, and he encouraged Aimee to go after she volunteered. Obviously he knew about the piano wire.
    • Erin specifically mentions that Crispian doesn't know about her having been raised in a survivalist camp. This becomes important in the climax when Crispian reveals what his goal was, and he expected her to be a passive witness, rather than the reaction she had.
  • Genre Shift: Towards the start it feels like a serious, dramatic horror, something along the lines of Festen-as-a-slasher-movie. By the end it's far less like a drama and far more like an incredibly violent sitcom.
  • Gorn
  • Groin Attack: How Erin starts her No-Holds-Barred Beatdown against Tiger Mask.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Crispian. He never imagined Erin would be anything more than a passive observer of the carnage he causes. Even when he returns to discover she's killed all of his partners in crime and has been through hell, he still thinks she might go along with his plan and be his girlfriend. She quickly shows him what a mistake that was.
  • Implacable Man: Ultimately subverted with the masked trio. Unlike almost all examples in previous slasher movies where the killers brush off traumatic injuries, the killers in this are regular people and get hurt like anyone else. Played completely straight for Final Girl Erin.
  • Improvised Weapon: A broken blender + Felix's head = Gorn
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As much of a self-centered ass that Drake can be, he without a doubt loves his parents, even taking an arrow to the back when saving his mother.
    • And reverts to Jerk mode when Felix guesses that the killers are using a signal jammer, saying he's not surprised "you're into that sketchy shit". Jerkass Has a Point in this case.
  • Jitter Cam
  • Kubrick Stare: The fox-masked killer pulls off a few.
  • Kill 'em All: If you accept that Erin's wound is mortal at the end, it literally means that there is not a single character, or even an extra, at any point in this film who is not dead or dying by the end of the movie.
    • The credits, however, disprove this, as Erin's picture is the first one up, with the caption of "Suspect?" beneath it.
  • Lack of Empathy: All of the killers, of course, but especially the ringleaders Felix and Crispian. They have their brother, sister, parents, Tariq, Kelly, and the two neighbors brutally murdered in the most hands-off way possible in order to inherit mom and dad's riches. Felix is at least somewhat shaken by the things he does, but in the end Crispian is nonchalant about the entire situation, including the deaths of his brother and their accomplices and the suffering he put the girl he "loves" through.
  • Machete Mayhem
  • Made of Iron: Unlike every other example in the slasher genre, the killers realistically get hurt, cry in pain and go down easily.
    • Played for Laughs with Drake who has an arrow sticking out of him but after taking some painkillers walks around as if nothing's happened.
    • Taken Up to Eleven, when he is stabbed with six screwdrivers and still is looking bemused at Felix who is utterly perplexed.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The killers wear animal masks. The downsides of this approach are considered, though, as they occasionally are shown having some trouble getting enough air through the masks, and Erin gets the drop on them a few times due to No Peripheral Vision.
  • Mood Whiplash: All over the place.
    • A prime example would be Paul's death. He suffers a Slashed Throat and lays there dying. As the disturbing soundtrack swells up, Fox Mask casually walks up to Felix and Zee hand behind his hood with a "Gee, sorry about that." demeanor. Felix then berates Fox Mask for killing Paul in front of him, while Fox Mask takes his earbud out.
  • Mugging the Monster: A large part of the premise. Who knew that the Final Girl would turn out to have been raised in a survivalist camp? It's later revealed that Crispian intended for her to survive and be a witness; he just didn't know she would have that reaction.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Trailers for this movie tend to play up the horror aspect, while leaving out the Black Comedy almost entirely.
    • The song at the start of the cd, which is playing on repeat throughout the movie, is presented in the trailer as "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed, to amazingly involving and dissonant effect. The actual song used in the film is "Looking for the Magic" by Dwight Twilley Band, a far less famous track that's dissonantly poppy rather than dissonantly serene.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Literally, as Zee tries to get Felix to have sex with her next to the body of his dead mother. Thankfully, Felix is freaked out at this request.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Erin when it comes to one of the killers. She goes to town with that meat tenderizer.
    Erin: (Pulls off killer's mask) Anyone know this guy?
    Felix: No... although it's kind of hard to tell.
  • Not What It Looks Like: The finale has the cop arrive just as Erin kills Crispian, shooting her in response.
  • Off with His Head!: Averted with Kelly's death, the axe instead lodges halfway through the head.
  • Only in It for the Money/Psycho for Hire: The three masked killers turn out to be these.
  • Rasputinian Death: Probably due to being doped up on painkillers, but Drake gets stabbed with a toolbox's worth of screwdrivers before he finally falls. Lampshaded by his killer, Felix.
  • Razor Floss: Ever seen someone get knocked down by running into a clothesline? Picture that happening with piano wire and their neck getting sliced, which kills Aimee.
  • Reality Ensues: Whenever the killers get hurt, instead of remaining in silence, they scream & whimper in pain.
  • Reconstruction:
    • It arguably has elements of this, or at least a deconstruction of deconstructions of this genre. It could easily be said that where Scream (1996) was a film made for people who grew up on horror films, this movie was made for people who grew up on Scream, and the increasingly meta slasher films that followed its lead. Where Scream commented on the cliches, this film either rolls its eyes at them (when The Reveal comes its treated more like an awkward moment than a Shocking Swerve), or take them in wildly different directions (the last act is clearly still a slasher movie...it just keeps shifting around who is the slasher, and who is the victim).
    • On a more subtle level it reconstructs Cellphones Are Useless by simply having the villains use jammers.
  • Slashed Throat
  • Soft Glass: Very much averted throughout, but primarily in Erin's Super Window Jump near the climax, which results in a shard the size of a butcher's knife getting lodged in her thigh.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Erin and Crispian, the latter being the former's college teacher. In fairness, he isn't her teacher currently. This does lead to an argument between Crispian and Drake, though. During the climax Crispian explains that Erin could use the inheritance to pay off her student loans.
  • The Quiet One: Zee's not particularly chatty.
  • Twisted Ankle: Paul suffers one when trying to get up from the dinner table due to the haste of it, as Tariq had just gotten an arrow shot into his forehead.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Felix asks this verbatim to Drake after he refuses to die despite six screwdrivers stabbed into him.
  • Worst Aid: Narrowly averted when Aimee wants to pull a crossbow bolt out of Drake's back.
    • Played Straight when Drake himself pulls it out and faints.