The subtitle needs a better punchline, doesn’t it? Too bad I’ve never been very good at jokes. Although it’s not supposed to be funny. Well…it’s kind of supposed to be funny. You’re Next is something of a dark comedy, so it’s only appropriate to handle this review with some levity. And although not everybody dies, fair warning: a lot of freaking people die. And get stabbed, slashed, shot, chopped, beaten, maimed…you get the idea. Basically, this film is not for the faint-hearted.
I feel like You’re Next came out of nowhere. I’d barely heard anything about it, and then all of the sudden I was seeing a million generally positive reviews for it. As a horror fan, I figured I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t look into this hot new film, too. Anxious to see it and bored on my day off, I headed over to the theater to check it out…by myself. I’d never been to a movie by myself before. Is that weird? Anyway, while I don’t know if I want to make a habit of flying solo at the theater (it just felt weird), I can say that I’m glad I saw You’re Next. All in all, it’s a pretty fun little flick.
Synopsis: “When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one victim harbors a secret talent for fighting back.” –Borrowed from my favorite movie site, IMDb.
The Good: ERIN. This Aussie chick is one of the baddest horror heroines I’ve ever seen. Played by the relatively unknown Sharni Vinson, this girl is smart, tough, and definitely not afraid to get her hands dirty. As soon as bad stuff goes down, Erin almost immediately takes charge. When everybody else is still in shock, Erin’s the one watching their backs by scoping out the house, locking doors and windows, and gathering weapons. Often the characters in horror films are so poorly developed or so barely likeable that it can be hard to muster any real enthusiasm for their survival, but this girl is so awesome that you have to root for her. The film as a whole has a feisty energy that breathes new life into a genre easily weighed down by clichés. Some people might disagree, but I believe this film has a spark of originality to it. There are a couple of nice twists toward the end, and if nothing else you have to appreciate the dark humor. A bright, happy tune plays while people are brutally murdered, one of the murderers chills next to a dead body on a couch, people are beaten to the point of ridiculousness—very, very dark stuff that you somehow find yourself giggling at. I mean, hopefully everybody else is laughing. Otherwise, I’m more twisted than I realized. Favorite scene: Ever heard of Chekhov’s gun? Basically, Anton Chekhov was a Russian writer/playwright who said that if you put a loaded gun onstage, you’d better intend to use it. I couldn’t help thinking of this whenever Erin sets a nasty trap that remains untouched for a good portion of the film. When this trap is finally sprung, it’s pretty perfect. You’ll see what I mean…
The Bad: This film is bloody, y’all. I think this far into the review you probably get that, but there were lots of times when I was at least squirming if not looking away entirely. Toward the beginning, the violence is done with some taste (there are at least a few scenes where they cut away), but as the film goes on it gets bloodier and bloodier. Not being a fan of excessive gore, I’d hoped for a few more classic, jumpy scares and good old-fashioned tense scenes. I’d hoped for more likeable characters, too. Sure, Erin is awesome, and we kind of get to know her boyfriend, Crispian (AJ Bowen), but everybody else is pretty undeveloped and/or annoying. I guess you’re not supposed to get super attached since so many of them die, but it would’ve been nice to have more than one character to root for. Also, though I believe this film is fairly fresh, it does have its stale, predictable moments. Though, to be fair, so does almost every horror movie—even some of the best ones. The only other warning I’d offer is that there’s a scene where a camera flashes over and over in a dark room. It gave me a headache. Least favorite scene: Blender. That’s all I’m gonna say. Blender. EWW.
To Sum It Up: This is 100% a slasher flick. Fans of this type of movie will definitely love it, but its inventive dark humor and aggressive heroine might be enough to reel in other movie-goers, too. Maybe. Although if you’re especially sensitive to violence, I’d recommend giving You’re Next a wide berth. I had fun, though, and probably most horror fans would. But I’ll never look at pale animal masks quite the same…
My Grade: B+