The 12th film for Halloween 2019 was my first exposure to Adam Wingard, who I quickly came to admire as a director. You’re Next (2011) really blew me away the first time I saw it, and that and Wingard’s 2014 thriller The Guest—which is like a mid-’90s made-for-USA movie but way more exciting—cemented the fact that I would be very forgiving to Wingard’s future output for years to come.
He hasn’t wowed me that much since, but that forgiveness remains, and I’m always excited to see what he has coming up next. I even kind of enjoyed his ridiculous take on Death Note, so feel free to judge me accordingly. As for You’re Next, this is the first time I’ve revisited it since, and while it didn’t inspire the same level of awe, it’s still a fun, violent ride that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
You’re Next is a home invasion flick with a great twist. What appears to be a family gathering interrupted by masked intruders has something even more sinister beneath it, and it unfolds in a really satisfying way. The characters, for the most part, range from forgettable to obnoxious—Joe Swanberg’s Drake is one of the most punchable dudes in the past decade of film—but it’s all clearly about the incident at hand more than the actual family dynamics, no matter how strongly the story suggests otherwise.
Some movies that hinge on their twists are enhanced the second time around as a result. Take Jordan Peele’s Get Out for example. Once you watch it and know its secret, watching it again is even more enlightening. You begin to see bread crumbs throughout, slapping your forehead like “Why didn’t I see that coming?!” But of course you didn’t, because Get Out‘s twist is insane.
You’re Next doesn’t quite benefit in the same way from repeat viewings. Thankfully, the action beats and absurd violence are still as effective, so it’s worth revisiting if you enjoyed the rollercoaster the first time around. Next up for Wingard is Godzilla vs. Kong, but give me another The Guest and I’ll be more than happy to show up on day one. You’re Next, on the other hand, is best left as a one-off thrillride.