Thursday, August 29, 2013


You're Next

Directed by Adam Wingard
Written by Simon Barrett

     The new quasi-slasher, home invasion horror flick You're Next, is an entertaining, self aware film that eventually just becomes formulaic and predictable. I mean, the title gives you everything you need to know when watching the film. There are cheap scares, my wife jumped three or four times during the film and it got me too, but as the film goes on, the home invasion scares and deaths just get boring and three is not much left to go on. It is a film, for the most part, that I liked in the escapist way cinema can be, and definitely horror should be. The film is funny, full of irony and cheap scares throughout, but in the end, it is just another horror film made by a bunch of friends having a good time making movies. Not much else, other than the fun it has playing with the horror genre.
     We begin with sex, obviously campy condition of most horror films, and then the murder of the two individuals partaking in the act. Right away we have two people dying, having sex and being watched, then killed. We learn later on more of their meaning in the film. Then, we see Paul and Aubrey Davison (Rob Moran & Barbara Crampton), driving to their isolated vacation home for an upcoming family get together. They are to meet their four, grown-up children for a weekend of reminiscing and family fun, even though once they meet, they are quite the dysfunctional bunch which will lead to evil consequences later on in the film, but that is all I am going to say about the plot. Three sons -- Crispin (A.J. Bowen), Drake (Joe Swanberg) and Felix (Nicolas Tucci), and one daughter Aimee (Amy Seimetz) along with there significant others -- Erin (Sharni Vinson), Kelly (Margaret Laney), Zee (Wendy Glenn) and Tariq (Ti West). Only, this trip is going to turn out to be one of the worst ones of their lives and, for most of them, their ultimate demise.
     There is only one person that can withstand the soon-to-be attack from three men wearing black jumpsuits, wielding axes, machetes and a crossbow, and wearing a lamb, tiger and fox masks. Erin, who grew up in Australia and has a background of fighting and living off the grid, is the one that stands up to the masked home invaders and shows everyone how to fend off these murderers. The plot goes on, we see family members and guests getting shot by arrows and murdered in ways that I will not write here so it will not spoil the film, but nothing surprising. The best one of the group is Swanberg though. He is kind of the ass-kissing son that just delivers the witty, ironic humor throughout the film. He steals the show when it comes to the acting and comedic factor. It goes good with the film, since it is very aware of its ode to the horror genre motifs, action, B-movie style acting and writing, and the home invasion shtick.
     Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett, who also worked on both of the V/H/S films, know what they have here. A bunch of mumblecore-ish, independent filmmakers and actors, getting together and playing with all the horror genres and seemingly, having a good time making films. The hilarious turn by actor/director Joe Swanberg, literally, he is the funniest and one of the best things about the film, and also Bowen, who is quite funny as well, are the best parts. You have the one girl with an extensive, combative background in Vinson, who kicks ass throughout and makes all the men look dubious, lazy, scared little idiots. A great, 80s style music in the whole film that will take you back to those movies like Halloween and Friday the 13th, and detailed, if not ridiculously stupid at times, killing of all the people in the house. It is not that subtle and some of the murders are just silly and questionable, but that was fun of the film, even if it is still weird to be laughing at the death of people on screen for cinematic amusement. Our society is very emotionless when it comes to having a scary, good time at the theatre. The biggest problem is that as the film goes on, its just, who's next and how are they going to die. It just became formulaic and boring, even though its a funny and escapist little horror film.
     In the end, You're Next is a fun little romp of a horror movie and nothing more. It original premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and has had quite a wait to it theatrical release two years later. Not meant to be taken to seriously, but by the last half hour it just got boring and nothing more than a bit of a gross out fest. Wingard and Barrett have a made a film that pokes fun at most, if not all, of the classic horror films and techniques, as well as managing to have a fun time doing it. I wish the film would have been a little more or ended a whole lot better, but I still had fun with it. I still believe horror films need a huge revival with something that makes scares based on the suspenseful fears of the unknown, eerie settings and moods, and honest scares instead of cheap ones. Hopefully, it is coming soon, but by whom, I have no idea.

Photo credits by IMDB.

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