When the Sins of the Sons Exceed Those of the Father: Adam Windgard’s ‘You’re Next’ (2013)

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Which came first, the plot or the action? In the case of Adam Windgard’s 2013 action-horror film You’re Next, the action scenes in which “Erin” (Sharni Vinson) displays her Jason Bourne-like survivor skills clearly were the prime mover for this film. While the back story of the characters needed some more development in order to better explain the motivation for the characters’ actions, particularly at the crucial plot twist toward the denouement when characters’ true colors are revealed, nonetheless the movie succeeds at generating a genuine sense of peril. The premise of the story is straightforward enough, adult sons, “Crispian” (A J Bowen), “Drake” (Joe Swanberg), “Felix” (Nicholas Tucci), sister “Aimee” (Amy Seimetz), and their various partners gather at the parents’ “Rob” (Rob Moran) and “Aubrey” (Barbara Crampton) country estate.

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During dinner, as wine and sibling rivalry begin to mix, complete mayhem erupts when this little family affair is suddenly assaulted by a gang of masked men, who do not waste time at making their violent intentions known. Why are they doing this? Is it because for the family’s conspicuous wealth? Or does it have to do with Rob’s history of working for a major defense contractor? Or do these men just enjoy the terror they are inflicting? Whatever the case may be, neither the family inside cowering nor the attackers outside ready to force their way in could anticipate Erin’s reaction. Initially as shocked as others, Erin soon reveals a side to herself that suggests she has been through this type of situation before. Plot holes and one-dimensional characters notwithstanding, You’re Next is an entertaining mix of Roger Avary’s Killing Zoe (1993) and John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978).

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