Friday, October 10, 2014

You're Next

Directed by Adam Wingard.
2011. Rated R, 95 minutes.
Sharni Vinson
Nicholas Tucci
Wendy Glenn
A. J. Bowen
Joe Swanberg
Barbara Crampton
Rob Moran
Ti West

Some families can never sit down together and have a peaceful dinner. This is true for the Davison family. However, things are taken to a whole new level when arrows start flying in through the windows, killing one party guest. Yup, their already dysfunctional bunch is under siege by strangers outside the house . Of course, these strangers don't remain outside for long. While they're coming in, the Davisons are trying to get out. By the way, it's not just the Davisons. There's mom Aubrey (Crampton) and dad Paul (Moran), who own this beautiful home. Presumably, they are in their sixties. I'm judging by conversations that place the older kids near forty, if not beyond that age. If I went by mama's looks, I'd say she couldn't be their mother. Maybe she's a hot, milfy, slightly older sister. Yeah, I said that. Either roll your eyes or agree. Anyhoo, their three sons have all brought their girlfriends and their daughter has brought her boyfriend. In other words, we're nicely set up for a sizable body count. Oh, if you somehow didn't know this, the house is pretty secluded. The one neighbor and his barely legal girlfriend are in the movie for less time than Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett-Smith were in Scream 2. Their part of the story just doesn't unfold in public, the way that one did. They're also far less interesting, too. With them out of the way, home invasion madness ensues.

You're Next actually mixes its horror sub-genres. While home invasion is the dominant theme, it makes plenty of use of slasher flick tropes. For a long time, our intruders don't seem to want anything other than to kill the occupants of the house in what turns out to be "one by one" fashion. We also get a "final girl" out of the deal. I won't completely spoil it, but you'll probably figure out who that is rather quickly. She'll be the one kicking bad guy ass. And she does it in gloriously gruesome style.

Speaking of gruesome, one of the draws of the movie is its gore. This isn't some deep, psychological horror pulling our most submerged fears to the surface. This is a study in how much damage can be done to the human body using whatever you can find around the house. Amazingly, this includes a blender. No screwing around with atmosphere, here. It's all about the blood and guts. At this, the movie does a very nice job. A number of scenes induce a wince or two from the viewer. The most memorable of them includes that aforementioned blender.

Sidenote (minor spoiler alert, too): The first dinner guest that buys it is played by critically acclaimed horror director Ti West. Well, he's not acclaimed by this critic, whatsoever. Plenty of people were singing his praises for House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. I hate both movies with unbridled passion. Even though I would be a very happy man if he never gets to yell "action" ever again, I don't really want him dead. Still, I'd be lying if I said seeing him get killed in this movie didn't bring a smile to my face. If this makes me evil, so be it.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Despite what I've just said, the plot is not wholly irrelevant. There really is an air of mystery to it all. We really have no idea what's going on for a long stretch of time. Fortunately, the other stuff is interesting enough to hold us. When things start clearing up, it makes perfect sense. There isn't a ton to comprehend, but what's here works. It does so in a way that makes us cheer for our heroine that much more. Honestly, by that point, we're already on her side, but when we figure out what's happening we really start rooting for her.

This is not a movie that's re-inventing the horror wheel by any stretch of the imagination. It does approach it with a sly and twisted sense of humor. The story is functional and the kills are inventive. There is enough suspense to keep us wondering during any down time. The acting and the dialogue are all adequate for a horror flick. The special fx bringing all the mutilation to life are all practical from what I can tell and very well done. Everything leads to an intense final few minutes. You're Next is just a bloody, fun ride. Bloody in the literal sense, that is.


  1. As you said, this movie wasn't reshaping the horror genre or anything, but it was an enjoyable flick. I just posted a review of a Ti West film, I had no idea he played that pretentious douche who became the first victim. Too funny.

    1. Being enjoyable was good enough for this one. Yup, Ti West is that guy. I'll paraphrase your term to describe his movies: pretentious, douchy.

  2. I never got around to seeing this. I know someone told me who the killer was but I've forgotten already. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

    Great review!

    1. Oh, please give this a shot. It's fantastic.