You’re Next (2011)

I think I’m in love with Erin, the female lead. It was in the basement where I realized it, as she reduced what was once a human head to a pile of pulp using only a log and her critical thinking skills that I paused the film and actually told a friend “I’m in love with her.” Because damn, what a woman.

Quite a few of us have seen You’re Next by now, so I’m a little late to the party, I know. And truth be told, in the beginning I had my doubts. For those of you who don’t know, it’s about a dysfunctional family get together that quickly turns into bloodshed and chaos as assailants in animal masks start butchering people with nasty implements and well-placed piano wire. I found several of the characters immediately unlikable, and once shit hit the fan, I found even more of them unlikable and incredibly stupid. Like screaming-at-the-television-full-on-raging STUPID. At about the halfway point, a buddy of mine came over and spent the next half hour listening to me rant about just how stupid some of these people were.

But in all this, Erin begins to shine, and once she starts, she doesn’t stop. And by the end of it, you love her. This isn’t High Tension with its almost offensive ending. This isn’t even Laurie Strode doing her damnedest to survive with just a kitchen knife and being the poster child Final Girl. This is Ellen Ripley-level female badassitude. This is a woman who takes the situation by the balls and totally owns it, and she makes the movie. There would be no movie without her.

As for the other, stupid folks…well, while they suck, there is more than enough excellent shot framing with the mask-wearing killers to more than make up for it. Whether it is reflections in a window, crawling out from under the bed, sneaking up behind someone in a scene, it’s brilliantly executed and downright creepy at parts. And while it does fade away once the first big plot twist hits, by that point Erin is stealing the show anyway.

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