I’m not going to ignore the awesome Final Girls that we have gotten in cinema. Women that have kicked ass such as Sally Hardesty, Laurie Strode, Nancy Thompson, Sidney Prescott, and yes, even Tree Gelbeman, repeatedly prevailed against all the odds. Let us also include the Sci-fi adjacent women, Ellen Ripley’s and Sarah Conner’s out there. All have come before Erin Harson. Yet she is different.
You’re Next is a home invasion film unlike anything at its time.
The movie centers around the Davisons, an estranged upper-class family. The matriarch Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) and her husband Paul (Rob Moran) Davison. Attempting to repair their damaged family relations, decide to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary by inviting their kids and their significant others to their estate. Most notably, their son Crispian has brought his girlfriend, Erin Harson (Sharni Vinson). Australian born college student and previous teaching assistant of her current boyfriend Crispian (AJ Bowen), a university professor. Dinner starts off to a lesser and than the desirable beginning—sibling taking digs at each other situation and egos. Outbursts flare between Crispian and Drake (Joe Swanberg) as they wax intellectuals. Jolted to halt once Drake notices an arrow has shot Tariq(Ti West) in the head. The Davisons must put their differences aside and work together if they wish to survive the night.
Erin is not just the girl next door nor just helpless woman that a perhaps professor and now boyfriend may have expected!
Erin grew up living most of her life on a survivalist compound. Something the audience doesn’t find out until later in the film. Erin’s background is what lays the groundwork to separate her from her previous final girl counterparts. In most movies of years past, the final girl trope, in most movies regularly directed by men, refers to the female protagonist who stays alive until the end. Final girls tend to go through some form of a “phoenix from the ashes” arch. Confronting the killer and defeating him.
Erin is unconventional in this manner; Erin chooses to stay alive rather than play hide and seek as we see played out countless times. Erin noticed the glass shards on the ground as the sound the arrow piercing the window broke her concentration from the antics of dinner. Taking to the ground and traversing under the table like she’s running a boot camp course. It’s at this moment Erin goes from was presumed to a witless side character like Dwight ‘Dewey’ Riley to more a double taping alpha-like Tallahassee from Zombieland.
Faced with incredibly complicated decisions to make – Vinson’s remarkable portrayal of Erin has rewritten the final girl trope. Her basic technic that may go overlooked on the first watch, she dispatches five people this means. Sadistic in some ways, this final girl isn’t taking a gamble on assumptions, solely delivering blunt force trauma to the head until the target brains cease to function. Erin showcases more traits of an actual murderer than the victim.