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Bad Movie Tuesday: The Saviors of Subpar

September 3, 2013

You're Next movie poster

SPOILER ALERT!!!! Read John’s review for a neat spoiler free journey into death via animal masked intruder.

Bilge Ebiri of Vulture wrote “every horror movie, on some fundamental level, traffic in bullsh**.” I agree because the horror genre is rife with too much explanation, too few solid characters and the need for an immersed viewing experience.  Every horror film is a step away from being crap and You’re Next tries to subvert that but instead creates a plot device for cracked skulls. You’re Next traffics in bullsh** but unwittingly creates a character who puts on boots and walks around the muck. Sharni Vinson carries the film on her petite shoulders as she navigates the hornet’s nest of white-collar violence.

You’re Next raises too many questions. For instance, why the animal masks? Can you only see straight ahead?  Why murder your family for inheritance?  Why write  “You’re Next” on walls? How long does that take? What if a victim accidentally walks in on you writing this? How do you hire accomplices? Why leave your mom upstairs knowing the killer is upstairs? Why did the killers camp out in the house for two days? Why not lock the door? I understand that asking too many questions about the horror genre will make it implode onto itself but these questions kept popping up and made for a quizzical experience.

The overall positive consensus of You’re Next stems from the horror genres lack of quality. Aside from James Wan and  Ty West (Who cameos in the film) the horror genre has become a mixed bag of remakes (Evil Dead), prequels (Texas Chainsaw blah blah), sequels (Puppet Master) and found footage shlock (Chernobyll Diaries). Horror movies are either sleek drones of violence or expository machines that rid the world of mystery.   Thus, when a movie expresses a new idea or clear voice it is instantly praised. Audiences clamor for horror and will throw down their hard-earned cash to watch The Purge or Sinister. In the last five years I’ve enjoyed a hand full of horror films. The Conjuring, Insidious, Devil and Apollo 18 are enjoyable because they made me laugh, jump or appreciate Philly looking evil. I use the word “enjoyable” because the films weren’t masochistic gloss machines of death or excuses for a pretty lady to murder dumb killers.

You’re Next falls apart when it comes to explaining the villain’s motives. They are a bunch of rich punks who hire surfer/drug addicts to play killers. Their personalities don’t fit their actions and they come across as nothing more than bodies to put cool masks on. Thus, when they are dispatched there is no tension. The director Adam Wingard wanted to show off blood splatter and skull crushing and lost sight of what makes horror effective. I like the movies mentioned earlier because evil witches, red demons, moon rock spiders and the Devil are pure evil and want destruction on every level. There is no pettiness, selfishness or acting. They want to kill and their motives are understandable on the primal level. So, you worry for the heroes because they are in over their heads. Tension is built and not deflated due to escalating danger from evil spirits or spider rocks (FYI Apollo 18 is not a good film. It is bonkers and wonderfully bad).

However, the film eventually turns the tables and introduces us to a practical spitfire (Sharni Vinson, Bait 3D) who kicks ass and hits dudes many times in the head with meat tenderizers.  She doesn’t recover miraculously from injury, sets neat Home Alone type traps and is believably wiry. As the plot falls into bullsh** she rises above the story and helps us leave the theater happy. As she finishes up the movie by putting a blender on a person’s head and impaling a dude’s neck with a screwdriver you wish her the best. She is a plot device who ends up in a hornet’s nest of white-collar violence but that doesn’t stop you from hoping she recovers.

The reason this film is exists is to let blood, guts and sex flow freely. The animal masks were meant for marketing reasons and the characters are given traits and not personalities. I wish the director would have focused more on story and not the inevitable murder. I get that a bunch of killers being killed can be enjoyable but it feels like an excuse for blood. Many horror films have not needed to satiate the viewer’s lust for blood spillage. Some of the genre’s classics have built memorable tension by making us care for the characters and genuinely shocking us. You’re Next is told with a tongue-in-cheek vibe and thus is an exercise of indie macabre.

Watch You’re Next . Support the new horror creators. Don’t drink the kool-aid yet.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2013 10:57 am

    For me, this was a whole bunch of fun. More fun than it was probably scary, however, I’d say that it does have a chilly atmosphere. Nice review.

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