Sharni Vinson, who plays Erin, gives a performance of a lifetime, channelling Laurie Strode’s kindness from Halloween, Nancy Thompson’s cleverness from A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Sidney Prescott’s strong-willed determination from Scream. She became the definitive final girl in many ways, fully embracing the tradition of powerful women while also turning everything we’d learned about the genre on its head.
For your Halloween’s night check out You’re Next
“It appears to be one of those films that has always gained traction from the start. It’s largely due to word of mouth and horror aficionados who have categorised it as such. “It was an incredible picture to make,” she adds, “but I believe it was just so wonderfully received that it sort of spread through the crowds.” “I grew up watching horror films and absolutely liked the original ‘Scream,’ and this film feels like a modernised version of that.” It’s very flattering to know that people can still turn on the television and say, “Wow, that was a very good movie.” I chatted with Wingard, Barrett, and Vinson, as well as numerous other cast members, including Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg, composer Jasper Lee, and production designer Tom Hammock, in honour of the film’s tenth anniversary. Everything from establishing the film’s style and essential plot lines to assessing Erin as the definitive final girl was discussed. Below are edited excerpts from our conversations.
“We all sort of converged around the idea that for a period, horror films at that time had a very different tone,” Jess Calder says. Our main goal was to craft a home invasion movie that was nevertheless entertaining. Maybe I’m being too high here, but I believe that after seeing that film, other filmmakers were reminded that horror can be a lot of fun. When I think about the film’s legacy, I think about the idea that horror doesn’t have to be oppressive.” “Horror movies can’t simply be about all the horrific things that the bad people do, but also about the heroic things that the heroes do to fight back,” says Keith Calder. A lot of our inspiration came from movies like ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Home Alone,’ and even ‘Aliens,’ which were more about the fantastic things the protagonist does to turn the tables on the awful scenario.”
“Over the course of that meal, we realised how similar our tastes in horror, movies, and influences were.” We also shared a sense of humour and a philosophy on how movies should be made. I believe that the way we all approach low-budget filmmaking has a freewheeling attitude that infects the film with an intensity that is like lightning in a bottle. It’s difficult to convey that, and it’s a credit to Adam’s shooting style. It was also enlisting the help of other filmmakers and actors. That allowed it the freedom to attempt new ways and really push the boundaries of what kind of character relationship you’d see in our work.” “‘You’re Next’ is arguably the film I’m most proud of,” says Simon Barrett. I penned the script in a matter of hours. I didn’t make a plan or outline for it. I simply knew how I wanted it to end and worked backwards from there. I was drawing inspiration from Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ and the screwball comedy, as well as a variety of other ideas based on Adam’s suggestions for our future project. It turned out to be something that worked out far better than we had anticipated. But things didn’t seem to be working out at the moment. Even after the picture was released, it didn’t seem like things were going well or that anyone was really interested.”
“Well, I think Adam and I were much ahead of our colleagues in our willingness to publicly discuss our poverty,” Barrett says. We didn’t know anyone and hailed from a working-class family. He’s from Alabama, and I’m from Missouri. We were more forthcoming about such matters. Everyone we knew was broke, and the income disparity in America felt all too familiar. I wanted to set that up, and then try to pay it off in the style of a screwball comedy, where each individual in the family has their own set of motivations, and then people turn out to be different than you may expect.” “I wanted the killers to have real-life motivations,” says the author. I figured that if we continued bringing up specific dollar figures, it would draw attention to it. We also emphasised on the idea that the father made his money as a defence contractor, and that the men his children eventually pay to go after him are veterans of one of our recent fights in the Middle East at the time. We didn’t want to halt the movie to make a statement, so we didn’t. These things merely seemed to be part of our culture’s reality at the time. I wasn’t watching many films that dealt with them. So, you know, we put them in ‘You’re Next,’ but not a whole lot of people seemed to notice. The film, in my opinion, certainly has a major topic of people being different than you might expect.”
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