Merging the dysfunctional family reunion with the home invasion thriller, You’re Next makes somewhat of an effort to find its niche among the dearth of slasher, horror, and thriller films of 2013. It demonstrates that some people should never be allowed to make movies, not because they lack technical knowledge but because they miss the most basic points of film-making.
Set at an isolated country home, You're Next tells the story of a wealthy couple and their family who are attacked by a trio of mask-donning murderers who got their 'practice' out on the neighbors before embarking on their real mission Soon, arrow bolts and axes are flying through windows, with annoying family members dropping like flies. What the trio fail to realize is that the son Crispian (AJ Bowen) is dating a spunky Aussie survivalist (Sharni Vinson) who knows how to defend herself. Erin comes to the family's rescue, dealing out serious amounts of pain to the murderers, but not before learning why this family was chosen for bloody elimination.
The reason why You're Next utterly fails as a slasher film is two-fold: a group of poorly-cast unknowns, and a script that spends too much time on the set up and not enough on memorable horror. That's not to say that everyone's performances are a complete wash: Vinson is a refreshing heroine, but Director Adam Wingard doesn't give her enough cool things to do. Instead of memorable ass-kicking, we get lots of boring 'we hate our family' build up, courtesy of Felix (Nicholas Tucci) and the obnoxious Drake (Joe Swanberg), both of whom represent a cast that doesn't seem ready for the big screen. When the real slashing - and Erin's response - begins, the grisliness just isn't inventive or memorable enough partially because our troop of B actors simply don't have the chops to interpret the material. Perhaps Wingard was trying to make a more realistic horror film surrounded with ordinary people, a logic that gets horribly twisted in an implausible blood bath near film's end. Any of those twists I mentioned - and there are some good ones - come too late and are poorly acted, while the story just bores us before it tries to scare us.
There's a reason why You're Next sat in the can for two years. Its 94-minute runtime isn't used effectively, leading to a third act that audiences might not stick around to see. This must have scared distributors and theater owners, forcing it to remain on the shelf until someone decided it couldn't rot any longer. In the end, it misses the point of film-making entirely: to entertain. You're Next is rated R for bloody violence, language, and nudity and should be skipped at all costs.
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