Indie Focus

Director Adam Wingard, left, and writer Simon Barrett of "You're Next" outside the Vista Theatre in Los Angeles. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / June 11, 2013)

Among the many horror tropes "You're Next" grapples with is the notion of the "Final Girl," as characters are picked off one by one and a single female character is left behind.

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll       

In "You're Next," the idea is flipped on its head with the character of Erin, the new girlfriend of one of the family members.

When things take a turn for the worse, Erin reveals herself as someone capable of handling even the most extreme situation. The character's no-nonsense approach to danger is something the filmmakers and cast point to with pride.

"She doesn't run up the stairs when she should be running out the door," actress Sharni Vinson said. The role was originally conceived as an American, but the character was rewritten so the Australian-born Vinson could play the role with her own accent.

For all involved, "You're Next" is a step up in ambition and scale. The film was made for less than $1 million, but Lionsgate is treating it as a major release, opening it on more than 2,400 screens.

"The intent going into it was, can we make a commercial film that mainstream audiences can understand and get behind. That was the real challenge," Wingard said.

"You have to play by certain rules and pull that off. You can't skip anything. You have to fill in all the blanks."

"It's a tricky thing to do," Calder said of the film's ambitions to satisfy hard-core genre fans and more general audiences alike. "And it's something Simon is very good at conceiving and Adam is very good at getting to work. It will satisfy your basic horror movie requirements."

mark.olsen@latimes.com