An exclusive image from the animal-masked killers of ‘You’re Next’ has us worried

I can’t believe “You’re Next” is actually arriving in theaters this month.

I saw the film the first time at the Toronto International Film Festival almost exactly two years ago, and I thought at the time that it seemed like a natural to get picked up for distribution. At the time, it seemed like a big jump forward for Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, and this was before the two “V/H/S” films raised their profile so significantly. The movie stuck me as an easy crossover hit, the kind of film that mainstream audiences love because it feels so rough and raw and fringe, but it’s got a recognizable shape, a hook that works well, and a heroine who audiences can really invest in. It is a commercial film not because it is expensive and heavily marketed, but because it is so good at delivering kicks, start to finish.

Lionsgate has said from the very start that they were all aboard, and they’ve certainly lived up to that in the way they’ve tried to reach audiences during those two years. They’ve kept the film active on the festival circuit, so the buzz built gradually, and it sustained, and they’ve really kicked it up since about March or April of this year. They had a strong presence at Comic-Con, and I would imagine everyone on the entire team flipped out when Michael Fassbender found one of the animal masks in the podium when he came out for the “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” panel. All of a sudden, one of the most covered events of the entire event turned into a beautiful bit of accidental marketing.

I particularly loved the posters they released this summer that were posters for other movies with a reflection superimposed, as if someone’s standing behind you while you look at a movie poster. It’s a brilliant idea, and perfectly executed. Here’s an example, in case you didn’t see them:

Today, I got a mysterious e-mail around the same time that an animal-masked icon on Twitter said to me: “Check your inbox…”

When I did, I found an image of an N, and a very short message.

“You’ve been chosen.
The Animals are on the hunt.
And Drew… #YoureNext”

I noticed that the “N” was bolded in that final hashtag, which makes sense when you look at the attached poster:

And when I checked online, I found “Y” “O” “U” “R” “E”, and that brings us to our “N.”

I don’t see the other “E” or an “X” out there, but there is one final “T,” so I assume those letters while show up as well.

Very creepy, and I look forward to hearing what you guys think once you finally lay eyes on the film after hearing about it for all this time. I’ll have an interview with Sharni Vinson and AJ Bowen for you here next week as well.

“You’re Next” is in theaters on August 23rd.