This film has blood, fast-paced action, fun twists, and the ultimate heroine… what more could you want!

2011 was the second year of a crazy decade, which would give us both the worst – a global pandemic – and the best – quite a few cult movies. Some iconic films from the 2010s are well worth a rewatch, especially those which went unnoticed! This is exactly what happened to You’re Next – a gory horror film with a twist, directed by Adam Wingard and released in 2011.

A horror film? Yes, I know the Ultimate Club is dedicated to action flicks, but action can hide in the most unlikely places, and You’re Next is one of them. This slasher is the epitome of a hidden gem: it was a success at the box office, but not enough for a sequel to be released, and was forgotten by the public – but the few who saw the film still remember it! You’re Next starts off like any regular home invasion flick, featuring a family reunion that goes terribly wrong when animal-masks wearing killers decide to join the party.

Action fans, if this plot does not entice you, wait for the twist: one of the guests, a young woman visiting her boyfriend’s family, proves to be just as formidable as the attackers – and bloody good fighting ensues! 

The ultimate badass heroine  

What would you get if you put an action hero in the middle of a brutal horror slasher? One of the most badass protagonists ever. Erin (Sharni Vinson) starts off as a relatively shy young woman, but when her in-laws’ mansion gets attacked, she turns into a ruthless fighter, annihilating bad guy after bad guy without breaking a sweat.

This hardened survivor manages to stay calm when facing surprise axe swings, and never loses her cool – or her badass style – throughout the film. Saying too much about Erin’s prowesses would be spoiling the fun of this darkly humorous horror movie. Yet I can’t pass on the opportunity to let you know that, for once, we have a protagonist who does not walk away without ensuring her opponents are really dead – even when that implies to “soften up” their brains with some relentless hits! 

You’re Next does a great job at not giving away too much information about its unique heroine’s past. While many horror flicks spend their time trying to give protagonists a tragic story, Erin’s badass skills are merely explain by her childhood in a survivalist compound – a background that perfectly befits an action heroine. It is also very refreshing to see a female character so unapologetically violent, yet still easy to root for – Erin does not need to spend half of the movie sobbing or discussing her traumatic childhood to be likeable. When the danger comes, she simply does whatever it takes to survive and outsmart her opponents.

The film plays with her unusual inner strength like it plays with common tropes: You’re Next is self-aware, and has fun toying with the clichés of the horror genre (some of which are also found in actioners) such as a botched escape attempt or a villain taking the death of his brother…to heart! This gives to the movie a much more satyrical tone, and really makes it a creative slasher with a unique heroine. 

A cathartic bloodbath  

So, yes, You’re Next is a horror film, but its absolutely formidable protagonist earns it a place in the Ultimate Action Movie Club. The fight scenes here are more intense than in many B-action flicks, making it a certified ultimate watch. Action lovers will definitely appreciate the grittiness of Erin’s combat tactics: to say that she fights dirty would be an understatement. From a meat tenderiser to a flashing camera, going through a smoothie blender (yes!), there isn’t a single object in Erin’s surroundings that cannot become a deadly weapon.

This woman is one of the most resourceful characters ever seen in a horror or action film, to the point where the tricks she puts in place to booby trap the house seem like the R-rated version of Home Alone! Yet her moves and tactics somehow fall into the realm of realistic survival strategies, making combat scenes all the more gripping. Not all of Erin’s blows land – but when they don’t, she doesn’t hesitate to escape by jumping straight out of a window! 

Following a protagonist who does not only defend herself, but actively tries to take down her  assailants is the perfect experience for any action fan who wishes to step into the screen. So hear, action lovers! If you are looking for fast-paced and intense brawls, You’re Next might just be what you need. It is also worth noting that, although she is the most iconic character, Erin is not the film’s only asset: the slasher doesn’t compromise on the gore, with brutal kills and bloody fights that will remind you of an edgy actioner.

The weapons used here are varied, and go from a simple but effective garrotte wire to some crossbow bolts, also including the aforementioned smoothie blender (which deserves to be featured twice in this article!). In terms of combat moves, on top of the traditional kicks and punches, the film features a chokehold that looks more realistic than most, as well as an insane amount of backstabbing! Family members keep arguing and turning against each other, making a rewatch fun and relevant.

Still need some convincing? You’re Next features a cameo from director Ti West. So, the film has blood, fast-paced action, fun twists, and the ultimate heroine – that’s your Friday night sorted!

Article by Josephine Aulnois: Josephine is a French action films enthusiast with a particular interest in women fighters, Indonesian cinema and the James Bond saga.


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