You’re Next

You're Next photo starrating-halfstar.jpgThere’s really no point in reviewing You’re Next for fans of this kind of thing. The reasons why I disliked, no HATED it, aren’t going to matter to devotees of slasher films. If you want to satiate your bloodlust, regardless of plot, script, sense, character development or standards, then You’re Next should fit the bill nicely. It’s a contrivance knowingly designed for an audience that wants to see people murdered and voice their approval/disapproval of what’s happening on screen at the top of their lungs in a crowded theater for the entire film. I won’t hold that against it, but that perfectly describes my cinema experience.

You’re Next is a lazily made product that doesn’t hold up to intellectual scrutiny. Our story concerns a wealthy married couple celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in an isolated mansion in the woods with their kids and respective plus ones. Naturally the estate in the woods is in some remote area. Doesn‘t anyone ever vacation in the city anymore? It gets more idiotic. Assassins start shooting people from outside the cabin with crossbows. Was a catapult not available? The killers wear silly animal masks with tiny slits for eyes. They are impossible to see out of and therefore should give all the victims a distinct advantage in a fight. It doesn‘t (with one exception). The body count begins to escalate. Idiots blissfully enter dark rooms even though they know there are psychopaths roaming the house. Mom is taken upstairs and left to lie alone in a bedroom where strange noises were heard. Why continue to stay inside the house when it’s obvious the lunatics are inside? Because this movie is stupid, was the only answer I could come up with.

I’ve never been a fan of torture. I don’t take delight in observing people die and I don’t relish in the physical pain of others. I’m not a sadist so therefore I didn’t enjoy You’re Next. But it’s only a movie! This stuff isn’t real! It’s just make believe! True, but I still question the entertainment value in stomaching pretend carnage that, let’s face it, looks exactly like the real thing. If nothing else, the filmmakers know how to stage a realistic kill. After enduring one graphic murder after another in vivid detail, you’ll swear you’re watching a snuff film. At least this miserable lot are repellent. Their back and forth bickering is irritating. That makes their ultimate demise less painful to endure I suppose. Many cheered in my theater when the matriarch was massacred, her dead body left lying on the bed. Then they laughed with glee as the girlfriend suggests that would be a perfect place and time to indulge in some intimate hanky panky. You’re Next represents the nadir in popcorn entertainment.

Wait Until Dark, The Desperate Hours (1955), Funny Games (1997), Panic Room. The home invasion thriller has been handled before in much more interesting ways. You’re Next debuted at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival then sat around collecting dust for 2 years. Now it has been foisted on the public during the traditional end-of-the-summer dumpage. It feels even more old and outdated. It should’ve just stayed wedged between whatever moldy crevice it had been shelved into. This is an unnecessary film. We’ve made so many strides in horror in the last 5 years, that this just feels like some dated relic from a bygone era. Start with 10 people, then mutilate in gory detail. The instructions are repeated ad nauseum until one is left standing. There is some surprise as to who this is and how it occurs, but after watching 9 nitwits sliced, diced, cut, chopped and shot, do you really even care?

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38 Responses to “You’re Next”

  1. Good review Mark. I don’t know, I had a bunch of fun with this. Even though it wasn’t the game-changer everybody in the world made it out to be, I still enjoyed seeing what they could pull out from their bag of tricks next, and see whose limb would be sliced-off.

  2. I expected better. The reviews were positive. So disappointed. Scariest part was the woman who walked in the theater with her baby and 3 year old. Just frightening. Lol

  3. While I only thought this was only an average horror, I think you went too far with this review. This is clearly not as grotesquely sadistic as “The Hills Have Eyes” remake or “Hostel 2” or “Human Centipede”. Right?

    • I haven’t seen those films, but didn’t they have more of a plot? This was just a contrivance to kill people. Nothing more. I’d say that’s worse. Wouldn’t you?

      I’m sure there are more pernicious movies out there. But that’s like saying death by drowning is not as bad as death by being burned alive. lol

      • Mark, (not sure why I can’t comment under my blog) “The Human Centipede” had a plot, and was actually really good and creepy – but the sequel was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen! I felt sick watching it just b/c it had absolutely no merit; even other horror buffs hated it!

        And I thought “Hostel” sucked. I didn’t care for it, at all; the first half was dull – and then it went crazy – and then it got lame. The only good part was the very end, but by that time it was already deemed terrible in my book. No way I’d sit through the sequels.

      • Hostel was exploitative but it was an effective cautionary tale to the American frat-boy mentality abroad. The movie was a nightmare come to life. Not everyone welcomes visitors. lol

      • Yeah, good point; that’s true.

  4. One of the harshest reviews I’ve read in some time, but fun nonetheless! I agree about it being sadistic and not being able to get past that makes a movie like this difficult, no impossible, to see the merit in. but there was a point here: to show what crazy f**king things people would do for money, which is disgusting. . .and which i totally believed would happen in real life. you have to look at films like Saw for truly sadistic, pointless violence. those are torture porns. this one was not well-acted, but conceptually it had some genius. i thought so anyway.

    • It’s all about context. For example, in a film like A Clockwork Orange the sadism had a point. And it’s presented within a framework that makes it less offensive. Here I could discern only one purpose and I found that purpose troubling to say the least.

      Obviously we don’t agree on this film but I totally respect you for being real and owning the sadism. One of the reasons I enjoy your reviews. 🙂

      • haha thanks. will this be topical enough for the B.A.N.G. show, do u think? 😉

      • We usuly address the Top 5 for both the UK and the US. Since this debuted outside of that range it wouldn’t normally be addressed. However I’d be willing to make an exception.

  5. Woohoo! First–second half-star review? LOVE it. You really hated this one. I can tell. 😉

    It’s funny how part of me actually wants to watch this film, since your review’s “DON’T watch this movie” is undoubtedly reverse psychology in some sense. On the other hand, I feel like a snuff film would be a lot more pleasant than this. I guess that’s made so only by the expectation of watching real murders happening in a movie like Cannibal Holocaust.

    • I NEVER tell people don’t watch a movie. I give my opinion and the reason why I did/didn’t like it. It’s up to you to decide whether it’s your cup of tea.

      • I know, I know (we all try to avoid the “avoid this movie like the plague” blurb!), but if you’re writing film critiques regularly (even if it’s for fun like it is for you and me) then you’re probably a film aficionado. To me, a review so scathing thoroughly implies “Proceed with caution,” if not “Danger zone.”

  6. yikes. i was really interested in seeing this one.

  7. I am a huge fan of splatter, but it has to have some fun & even better when the splatter is done by some monster/zombie/cartoon creature rather than a person. I avoid these gorno films, so thnaks for the heads up.

  8. Well, I think saying people who likes horror films like this are “sadists” is a bit extreme; i love horror movies like this, but not b/c people get killed, but I like the suspense and intensity of the situation. I like to see how the victims react and how they respond and what actions they take to escape the situation or combat the adversary.

    I think this one was well-executed; it’s actually partially a comedy as the film pokes fun of horror cliches, and some of the idiotic things people will do. Like after the parents first arrive at the house and the wife tells the husband she heard a noise, and the husband says he will go upstairs to investigate and the wife says “No we have to run outside!” and she starts sprinting for the front door as if the killer is standing right beside her. lol. That was intended to be comedy and a playful jab at how silly a lot of horror-movie characters are; also I think the part where she went upstairs alone after the first attack was also intended to be comedy.

    I am not sure how your theater crowd acted, but there wasn’t many people in mine and the only reaction the few in my theater gave was a short applause after the girlfriend killed the first member of the klan.

    I am a bit surprised you hated this as much as you did. I figured if you hate the slasher genre then you would have steered clear of this one. lol. We disagree on this one; maybe we will agree on “Insiduous 2” coming out in a couple weeks. 🙂

    • Where do I ever say people who like horror films are sadists? I’m specifically talking about this film which brutally depicts the systematic murder of 9 people for the pleasure of the viewing audience. There is no suspense. I knew all (but one) would die. There is no art. Murder is what constitutes the entertainment for the audience. If that’s not the definition of a sadist, I don’t know what is.

      • Well, you didn’t say all horror films, but you mentioned this particular film, but to me it implies you were referring to the sub-genre and would also think the same about similar films such as “The Strangers”, “Maniac”, “High Tension”, “Inside”, etc.

        If you feel so strongly about “You’re Next” then I see no reason why you’d think any differently about others with a similar premise, and essentially is the same film, just in a different setting with different characters, etc. But this is just semantics. I will rephrase. Saying that people who like “You’re Next” are sadists is a bit extreme.

        I do see your point about the content and understand why it didn’t appeal to you, though, and I personally don’t agree with your assessment, but by no means think you’re wrong at all. I just think the sadists line was a bit extreme; that is of course assuming you meant it literally. If you were just being folksy then I take back what I said, and this would be a moot point.

        And to me these kinds of movies are very suspenseful, “You’re Next” included. I think like Tom mentioned, this film is a good example of bad things people will do for money, which does offer it a sense of plausibility. This feels like something that could actually happen. Just like you pointed out about “Hostel”.

        I think if I were a sadist I would have loved “Human Centipede 2”. lol.

      • I’m not interpreting why others enjoy this film. I’m not a mind reader. I’m only commenting that I would have to be a sadist to enjoy this movie.

      • I know a movie you may like with a similar premise as this, minus the violence; it’s a late 70’s/early 80’s Australian film w/ Rachel Ward, titled “Fortress”. When seeing “You’re Next” advertised it instantly reminded me of “Fortress”. If you have not seen it I think you’d like this one.

  9. Here’s a suggestion for NEW category for the blog: Call it “SUPER Fast Film Reviews”. When something like this comes along, you save yourself the time it takes to craft all that impeccable prose by a simple phrase or two. Like maybe, “It STINKS! Don’t bother.”

  10. Haven’t seen this one yet, but have a feeling I’ll probably hate it. The director, Adam Wingard, seems to be getting overrated of late. One of his more recent horror movies, A Horrible Way To Die seemed to get a lot of praise in some quarters. It was a pretty terrible movie.

  11. Whoa! Okay – after reading loads of extremely positive reviews of this from bloggers, I was ready to see if I could make time to rush out & see this today. First really negative review I’ve seen! Now I’m conflicted… Lol. (I really don’t like gore. And I HATE torture porn). :-/

    • If reviews mean that much to you, it has 33 negative critiques on Rotten Tomatoes. But I mean saying this has gotten largely positive reviews is as indicative to its quality as saying that it has barely eked out $10 million dollars (actual box office at this point). Just go with your gut.

  12. Excellent review. For me, you said it perfectly with: “We’ve made so many strides in horror in the last 5 years, that this just feels like some dated relic from a bygone era.”

    So, by the end, did I care? Nah.

  13. Wow. Way to take this film to task Mark. I do appreciate horror and although I admit that You’re Next visits well-traveled territory, I thought it was very sound from a technical perspective and it introduced a couple of interesting twists. I can understand how watching brutal murder and torture can be a big turnoff for some. The film veers heavily into comedic territory as it progresses, which made it easier for me to stomach. It did have trouble reconciling the straight horror and humorous elements however. My theater experience was similarly horrendous with people yelling. I had to yell at people myself to stop talking during the movie. Audiences are getting to the point where I almost don’t even want to see horror films in the theater anymore. I’d almost rather wait to see it at home where I’ll be undisturbed.

    • Movies attract their target audience. I’ve discovered horror films are unwatchable opening weekend unless you enjoy active crowd participation.

      In the case of You’re Next, I didn’t mind as much that people were talking over a bad movie. If this had been a quality horror film like The Ring I would’ve had more of a problem.

      • That’s understandable. I would be more upset if people were talking during something good. I’ve always felt that reactions (ooohs, ahs, screams, and the like) are fair game for horror and part of the experience, but not full on conversation or commenting throughout the entire film. For me it came down to saying to the offenders at my screening “I came here to see the movie, not to listen to your opinion.” I just wish more people would get that. I also wish there were more real penalties to discourage that behavior like throwing people out for talking or texting like the Alamo Drafthouse does.

      • The Alamo Drafthouse is positively legendary for their superior cinema experience. I’m so happy because they’re finally building one right here in San Francisco. It’s slated for December. Can’t wait!!

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