Two years ago home invasion horror You’re Next received a rapturous reception at genre film festivals, yet it got stuck on a shelf. But this week, the tale of a family reunion going horribly and violently wrong finally hits screens. To celebrate the release of the film, we’re travelling back in time with director Adam Wingard, screenwriter Simon Barrett and star Sharni Vincent to tell the story behind this soon-to-be cult classic.
JUST BEWARE OF MILD SPOILERS AHEAD
Simon Barrett: We had a film that we did together called A Horrible Way to Die, and because it had some genre elements it played at some genre film festivals. But it wasn’t really a genre film. But we got to see all these new genre movies coming out, and to see what people were responding to and not responding to in them. It felt like there were a lot of home invasion movies coming out, but that they were all doing the same thing that they’d always been doing. I think Colin Geddes of the Toronto Film Festival called them ‘Movies in which someone is tied to a chair. Adam wanted to do a home invasion film, and I’ve really loved those films too, but it was kind of like ‘How do you do that when no one is tied to a chair? Or tortured? Or threatened? Where nobody is sexually assaulted?’ All of these films were hitting those points. That was the key to coming up with this story.
Adam Wingard: A lot of those home invasion films in the last few years have all been motivation-less. The killers and the plot were more-or-less based on randomness. Which is scary, but it’s been done now. It was done very effectively in Them and The Strangers. We didn’t want to repeat that. Simon and I are very story-oriented people, so it was important for us to figure out what our unique take was and what the killers’ motive was.
Simon Barrett: In a lot of these films coming out now the killers are completely insane and we thought it would be a little more interesting – and we don’t want to give anything away – but if we gave the movie more of a story than that. And you can make that scarier.
Simon: That was one of those weird things – that was always what it was called. When I showed it to Adam he said it was perfect. That was always just the way it was written in the script and only later did I realise that I possibly got it from the Modest Mouse EP ‘No One’s First and You’re Next’ which I own on vinyl. I was going through my record collection the other day and I found it and thought maybe that was where I got it from. But I just liked the confidence of that title. We knew that we wanted to do something that had kind of an angry, fun element to it.
Adam: There’s something about the phrase that sounds horror movie and that’s what we wanted. We wanted something that immediately sounds horror movie. And from that point on we wanted to do our own version of playing on those expectations.
Simon: And it was just a cool title that no one had used before and I was like ‘Sweet. I’ve thought of something good.’
Simon: The animal masks served two points. One is obviously if the movie has a theme, it’s what people are hiding on the inside. Sharni’s character turns out to be much tougher than you think. I like the idea of using the animals to illustrate that. The scariest animal is maybe the lamb. But also you see a film like The Strangers, which I think is an amazing film, and the masks look really cool and scary. But you’re also like ‘Are these kids fashion majors in the daytime?’ We wanted something that looked cool and iconic like that but seemed real. Adam’s big on everything feeling real in terms of the characters. And it was hard to believe that the You’re Next characters were sitting at home spending weeks designing their masks.
Adam: Even on top of that we had a really great costume designer, Emma Potter, and she and I really worked on making sure that each one of the killers – on top of the cool masks – had a costume that neatly defined them separate from each other. We didn’t want them to be autonomous killing machines. There are actually people under the masks. The movie doesn’t go into great detail about it, but they do all have unique personalities and they are dressed suitably to bring that out and accentuate that.
Simon: But it had to make sense. Even the stuff that Adam worked on with Emma – everything that the killers had has to have a practical purpose. We wanted it to look cool and iconic, but also it had to be simple and believable. Horror audiences are so savvy that you have to take things like that serious or you’ll lose them.
Adam: Sharni is the movie basically. It was pretty scary going into the audition process because we didn’t find anyone else that even remotely was able to get what we were going for. And for the most part everybody that was coming in there was coming in there with exactly what we didn’t want. They were coming in with cut-off shorts and their shirt tied around their chest and they’re posing and acting tough and it was just completely wrong. And Sharni comes in and was just a badass. And that’s what we needed - someone who personified the character and was that character. The other aspect of that was that the character has to be likeable beyond being a badass because it’s a double-edged sword. We have to draw you in because she’s a real person, and then make the switch believable and coherent with the whole arc of the character. And I felt like we just got really lucky with Sharni.
Simon: You can’t fake toughness. Tough people don’t sit around and talk about how tough they are. They just are tough. And Sharni is tough.
Adam: Plus we wanted someone who would be able to physically carry themselves in the action sequences and Sharni’s background is in dancing and so-forth – she was in Step Up 3D. I don’t think you would believe the character as much if it wasn’t someone who has the physicality that Sharni has in terms of pulling off those kind of things.
Sharni Vincent: It was in the script that she had grown up on a survivalist compound. That was very much the background of Erin. It just so happened that once I came in and auditioned, we changed the role from American to Australian. I actually auditioned as an American and I could have played her as an American, but they loved the Australian accent, and they thought it brought a more genuine toughness. I don’t know what that says about my country. Good things I hope. They loved the accent, they wanted to keep it, and I’m glad they did because it makes it easier for me at the end of the day. I get to just be me, and try to take qualities of me out and put them in Erin. And get qualities of Erin and put them in me. The ones you wish you had. We all love to hope that if our home was invaded someday we could take care of it and protect ourselves and our family, but it’s not always the case. But with her it is, and it’s really amazing to be that girl.
Sharni: It has been frustrating because I’m not somebody that has a lot of patience at all. But I fortunately make up for that in perseverance. I’ll never, ever stop. And this movie is one of those movies where you finish and think ‘Did that just happen?’ And then you see the result and you go ‘Wow. This is really, really good sh*t. I like this movie and I think that it’s going to have a great response.’ And the response has been so positive – it’s overwhelming. It’s definitely been a waiting game, which has been frustrating at times, but that is the industry that we live in. It’s taught me to try and let fate take its course. Let everything unfold the way it’s supposed to. You can’t fight that, so just be ready to go when it comes. I’m just glad that we have a release date and it’s coming.
Sharni: All of them. They were all so unique to shoot. I loved the basement kill because I love the way that the camera’s flashing and you get those bright moments of what’s happening and you piece it together yourself. I think that’s a really unique way of doing it. But I can’t really go past the blender scene. It’s genius. We had three minutes of stunt choreography for that scene. And Adam likes to shoot all of it a million times, so we would just be choreographing this scene, and my room-mate Wendy Glenn is the girl in that scene, ad its really uncommon that you get to be in a movie with your room-mate and best friend, let alone that you get to kill her.
You're Next hits screens worldwide this week.
Source : ign[dot]com