Film & TV

You're Next Is a Home-Invasion Slasher That Slices Up a Family of 1 Percenters

On September 17, 2011, 1,000 protesters set up tents in Manhattan's financial district and dubbed themselves Occupy Wall Street. Four days later, Lionsgate purchased You're Next — a home-invasion slasher that slices up a family of 1 percenters — and should have released it immediately. Instead, the studio sat on it and let The Purge seize the Zeitgeist. But, hey, at least the rich are still rich, and boy, do the rest of us like watching them get stabbed by stalkers in animal masks. Our prey are burrowed into the mansion of millionaire Paul Davison, who's hosting a fête for his heavily medicated wife (Barbara Crampton) and their four precociously named adult children, Crispian (A.J. Bowen), Felix (Nicholas Tucci), Aimee (Amy Seimetz), and Drake (Joe Swanberg). The kids are brats, yet each has managed to squire a significant other to dinner. If, deep down, their dates are in it for the inheritance, who cares? Soon, everyone will be served up like a pork chop. Adam Wingard's brisk and brutal thriller celebrates the quick kill; with ten people to whack, there's no time to waste. As for the silent-but-deadly killers, they're tromping around in commando gear like rabbit Rambos while the Davisons quiver like boiled carrots. Unlike most horror flicks, which save their creativity for elaborate killers (It's a ghoul! From Egypt! Who was molested by his great-aunt and wears her skin!) or kills (It's an ice pick attached to a corkscrew attached to a forklift that's now attached to your face!), You're Next streamlines the gory stuff for something truly shocking: good characters. Not deep, mind you. But characters who are crayoned-in bright enough that they're interesting even while alive.

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Amy Nicholson was chief film critic at LA Weekly from 2013 to 2016. Her work also appeared in the other Voice Media Group publications – DenverWestword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press, Dallas Observer and OC Weekly – and in VMG’s film partner, the Village Voice.

Nicholson’s criticism was recognized by the Los Angeles Press Club and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. Her first book, Tom Cruise: Anatomy of an Actor, was published in 2014 by Cahiers du Cinema.