‘You’re Next,’ the well-reviewed new “home-invasion horror” from director Adam Wingard is a film that left me questioning if I had just seen the same movie that the positive reviews indicated.
‘You’re Next’ tells the story of a family reuniting for a wedding anniversary. Unfortunately for the Davison family, a few uninvited guests have also joined the party. Wearing creepy animal masks and heavily armed, these party crashers are intent on making this an anniversary to remember…if anyone lives to remember it.
‘You’re Next’ is being touted as getting back to horror basics and having “innovation and enthusiasm,”1 (Source: Screen Rant) as well as having “fresh ideas”2 (Source: Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) and has received an overall rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes.
What I watched was a graphically violent, not-so-original, albeit well-produced suspense movie that took the “home invasion” idea and used it as an excuse for a mindless body count film.
There is a nice atmosphere in the cinematography and the woody tones of the isolated country home early on convey a sense of warmth and family. ‘You’re Next’ is smartly edited, as there don’t appear to be any unnecessary scenes and it does move along at a good clip once its character pieces are set into place.
But, you can’t polish a turd, folks.
The characters, save for one, in ‘You’re Next’ are ridiculous and obnoxious. There are absurd lapses in logic from the beginning of the mayhem. I’m sorry, but characters this repulsive and brainless deserve to get bumped off.
And boy, do they get bumped off. Arrows, axes, razor wire, knives, and even a kitchen blender serve as implements of destruction in ‘You’re Next.’ And in bloody, close-up detail.
If that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy the movie. I’m certainly not opposed to exploitative movies and images. I enjoy seeing a bad guy get his or her comeuppance as much as anyone else. Exploitation films are inherently full of such moments. ‘You’re Next’ is striving for more than simple exploitation, though.
‘You’re Next’ aims to cleverly subvert the audience’s experience by including unoriginal plot twists midway through. Some of those twists are telegraphed from a mile away. The movie actually works much better before the clever contrivances are thrown in. Creepily simple animal masks on unstoppable killers was working.
There are three movies that successfully reset the bar for horror movies and their sub genres. The original ‘April Fool’s Day’ in 1986 manipulated the viewer successfully and on a “nothing” budget. Ten years later, director Wes Craven stood genre conventions on their ears with the clever and twisty ‘Scream‘ which begat three uninteresting sequels.
2012 brought a pre-‘Thor’ Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, and one very cool actor’s cameo together in the highly entertaining genre-blender ‘The Cabin in the Woods.’ Director Drew Goddard’s film, like ‘April Fool’s Day’ and ‘Scream’ before it, is successful because it lets us in on the joke. ‘You’re Next’ springs its winking at the audience far too late to be effective or clever.
Flixnerds, the Head Nerd strongly advises the following. Rent ‘April Fool’s Day,’ re-watch ‘Scream,’ or stream the genre-defying ‘The Cabin in the Woods‘ before seeing this mess. *Click on any title(s) from this paragraph to view on iTunes now!
★★☆☆☆ Points for atmosphere, practical effects, and pacing. Flush the rest.