Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Horror Thoughts ‘14—You’re Next (2013) **

R, 95 min.
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Sarah Myers, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton, L.C. Holt, Simon Barrett, Lane Hughes, Kate Lyn Sheil, Larry Fessenden

I was surprised with “You’re Next”, because it had received pretty universally positive reviews. It doesn’t deserve them. I can’t imagine what impressed so many reviewers who are often in contention with the popular acceptance of horror movies. I suppose the fact that the villains of this horror movie are fallible is a slightly different take on this type of torture porn approach, but I felt the movie wasn’t really sure what it had to say about anything.

It examines a family reunion that goes terribly wrong when masked invaders attack the family and their guests trapping them in their remote luxury home. One of the son’s girlfriends emerges as a heroine, whose survival skills make her a match for the killers, catching them off guard with her ability to fight back. The movie is bloody and brutal and like so many recent entries into this subgenre of horror, it is more concerned with the shock and awe than it is in telling a suspenseful story.

I found the twists revealed in the final act of the film to be obvious from the opening moments of the story. This resulted in a great amount of disappointment as the film goes on. I was reminded of the movie “Get Shorty”, which was a huge hit when it was released in theaters and has since been mostly forgotten about. My problem with that movie was that none of the other supporting characters were as smart as the hero, so there was never any real threat presented against him, which resulted in a film utterly lacking in tension.

“You’re Next” suffers much of the same problem once it is revealed that the attackers aren’t as well-practiced at this as they seem at first. Once the heroine gets the upper hand on one of the intruders so easily, all of the air is let out of the plot’s bag. Her feats are less impressive than in other horror classics. Take “Halloween”s Laurie Stroud for instance, she fights against an unstoppable force of evil in Michael Myers while this film’s heroine beats up Jake from the local bar while he’s wearing a creepy mask that most likely makes it very difficult for him to see. From the moment she takes the first intruder down, it just becomes a monotonous slough through to the foreseeable twists at the end.

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