Summer Cinema with Jordan Wolff: ‘You’re Next’


Jordan Wolff
Promotion and Distribution Director

Who doesn’t love going to a good old fashioned family reunion? Not the people at a reunion involving a group of masked murderers. “You’re Next,” directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett, tells the story of the Davison family who has gathered at their remote vacation house for a family get-together gone completely wrong. But despite having all the necessary ingredients to be a decently scary movie, “You’re Next” failed in several key areas. As a result, it came across as a mediocre film at best.

“You’re Next” originally premiered during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival Midnight Madness program and made its U.S. film release this year on Aug. 23. Despite the movie’s disappointments, there were many intriguing elements about this film. For one, I found it refreshing to see a cast of faces unfamiliar to me. The main character Erin is played by actress Sharni Vinson, who has appeared in films such as “Bait 3D,” “Step UP 3D,” and “Blue Crush 2” — not exactly blockbuster motion pictures. The character Erin is a real badass who turns the tables on the murderers and fights back, almost in a comedic, unrealistic way. You can’t help but root for her to survive. Look out for this super hot and fearless Australian.
Perhaps the smartest and most intriguing aspect of the movie is the twist, although that’s not saying too much. Now I will say that there were some pretty good thrilling moments in this movie, because let’s be real, those masks are pretty scary. However, most of the suspense thins out about halfway through the film. Yes, the first few deaths had me at the edge of my seat, but these moments are few and far between. I found that the mystery was revealed too soon and the idea behind the plot was far scarier than the execution of it.
Overall, what made this movie fail most in meeting my expectations were the characters, story, and (lack of) logic. The frustrating thing wasn’t even the fact that everyone split up, ventured outside on their own, and became more vulnerable to being picked off one by one. As typical as that is, it was the uncreative explanations and reasons behind the murders that disappointed me. It quickly became too predictable and therefore less suspenseful. The spark that made me curious was lost, and where’s the fun in that? With some thought you will be able to spot the family’s oddball murderer and the motives behind the killings fairly easily. Maybe the fact that the movie is so obvious is its point, but I would have liked to see some more thought put into the story.
Lionsgate called the movie “One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, ‘You’re Next’ reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist on home-invasion horror.” And interestingly enough, Rotten Tomatoes gives “Your Next” a 78% rating, which is significantly higher than some really good movies out right now, putting it in third place among active movies. As of press time, “Kick Ass 2” is currently rated at 29% and “We’re the Millers” at 47%, which are both decent movies that I stand by. At the end of the day, the film seems to be a cross between “Home Alone” and “The Hunger Games,” except with a wee bit more intensity and far less creativity.
It can be fun to get scared if you’re into horror films, and yes, you will get your fair share of gore from “You’re Next;”  but “The Conjuring” raised my hairs way more than this thriller. There are plenty of killings in “Your Next,” but the whole idea of being the next victim only appeared twice in the film. Only twice did a victim read in blood, “you’re next” — what the hell. I was expecting the title phrase to appear throughout the movie or for at least half of the murders. That would have been far scarier and more ominous.
I will give credit where credit is due: someone does die via blender, so that is worth something. However, all in all I give this movie a 6.9 out of ten. It has some thrilling aspects and the ingredients for being an awesome scary movie, but its lack of cleverness and thought to detail disappoints. But like all movies, I guess it ultimately depends on who you see this movie with, as that can make all the difference.