Scream Queens and Final Girls: You're Next

Posted on Monday, September 22, 2014 by

I feel like I am pretty constantly behind the times when it comes to horror movies. Such was the case with the 2013 flick, You're Next. More than anything, I don't trust American horror. It comes in fads (we all remember the early 2000s Japanese remake trend, right?) and is usually full of excessive CGI, terrible acting, and predictable plot lines. 

I began watching You're Next a few weeks ago, and I either got bored, or distracted, and shut it off after twenty minutes. A few days later, my dear friend (and graphic designer/web developer for this page!) Jacob, gave me a play by play of his reactions ("OMG," "YES," "SO GOOD,") and it inspired me to give it another shot. I was SO pleasantly surprised.

Now, You're Next isn't your typical home invasion horror movie. There's no torture, (Funny Games,) or meaningless entry, (The Strangers.) This flick has a strong plot that kept my interest until the very last minute. I was happy to see "oh, hey, it's that guy!", AJ Bowen, who has been popping up in SO many horror movies lately. I maybe have a little crush on him. No big deal. Ti West makes an appearance, as well. I won't spoil too much for you- I'm really just here to talk about the female lead.

Sharni Vinson plays Erin, the unlikely final girl. Vinson doesn't have many acting credits but I'm seriously hoping to see more horror films under her belt in the future. She delivered such strong acting and was so believable as a heroine. In fact, she was runner up for a Fangoria award this year! (You go, girl.)

Erin begins as the girlfriend who tagged along for a family reunion. There's a mention later of her being the student of her boyfriend, which gets a few side eyes and VERY briefly makes her a "ditzy college girl" stereotype. However, when shit hits the fan, and oh, does shit hit the fan, Erin is full of A+ survival skills. She takes control of the situation, and knows just what to do to keep everyone calm while giving instructions to keep everyone safe. When her boyfriend flees to seek help, Erin is attacked multiple times. Every time, she outsmarts the masked killer or brutally kills them. First, there's some great action with a meat tenderizer. She even sets window traps and we see a nice nail to the foot. Later, she takes a blender to someone's skull. What a bad ass.

When another character asks where she learned all of her survival skills, we receive an interesting survivalist back story that doesn't make Erin a total victim. She makes it to the end and doesn't let a single person fuck with her. 

You're Next is an important piece in American horror and I am so happy it included a strong female lead who wasn't seriously sexualized and wasn't totally worthless. Also, this film (barely) passes the Bechdel Test! My only disappointment was that there were no people of color and all of the relationships were heteronormative. This does make sense with the plot, (white upperclass family, you know?) but it would have been nice to see a little bit more diversity. All in all, I was pleased with Erin's character and You're Next. 

Did you see You're Next? What were your thoughts? Tell me your favorite female leads in the comments! 


1 comment :

  1. Just saw this for the first time at last weekends 24 hr Horror Marathon in Columbus -- I loved it. At the risk of posting "spoilers" the part that was the most interesting was the subtle shift where it moved from being about the animal masked "slasher" type characters hunting the family, to Erin basically turning the tables. At one point, the masked characters take their masks off, and suddenly they're no longer the faceless killers but a different set of "victims."

    also loved all the waspy back biting dialogue at that early dinner scene --