I have to admit I went into You’re Next with pretty low expectations. Some people I know seemed to like it, while others seemed at best disappointed. I’d heard it variously described as “effective”, “a parody”, a “horror comedy”, and “just plain bad”. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
Y’see, the key to this movie is there in the headline. This really isn’t your typical modern horror flick. That’s not what it’s trying to be, and if that’s what you go in expecting, yeah, you’re probably going to be disappointed. It’s not another Hostel, it’s not another Paranormal Activity, it’s not even another The Conjuring.
Instead, what it is is something of a throwback. It’s much more akin to, say, the original Friday the 13th or John Carpenter’s Halloween (there are even traces of Carpenter’s distinctive musical style in the soundtrack). Actually, it’s more akin to the flood of movies that followed in the wake of those two horror classics. It’s a good old-fashioned stalk-and-slash type movie where the main questions are who is actually doing the killings, what their motivations are, and how they’re going to take out the next person.
Oh, and, of course, just exactly who is “next”.
Because one of the things that really works in this movie is that it is one where anyone (well, almost anyone) can die at any given time.
So, once I realized that was what I was seeing, and taking it in that context, I found that this movie really worked for me. Part of it, I’m sure is nostalgia. These are exactly the kind of movies that I “misspent” much of my youth watching, either in theaters or during the 80s VHS boom. And You’re Next has all of the right elements to actually have become one of the classics if it had been made during that period. It has just enough plot to be engaging, it has just enough jump scares and shocks to keep the audience on its toes, it has a fair number of twists, most of which work pretty well, it doesn’t take itself too seriously (which I suspect is why some people are writing it off as a parody or satire), and it has a relatively satisfying conclusion. It also has one of the best “survivor girls” to be found, and even gives her a reason (actually two) for being the one who lasts. Heck, we even get an early moment of nubile teenage nudity which, as The Cabin in the Woods pointed out, is something of a pre-requisite for this kind of flick.
Now that’s not to say it’s a perfect movie by any stretch. It certainly has some moments of really bad dialogue. There are a couple of moments that I suspect are more unintentionally funny than they were meant to be. A number of the characters are underdeveloped, and there’s at least one whose death I was actually cheering because the character was so frikkin’ annoying up to that point that I was happy to see them go.
However, as I said, for the most part the movie wound up being a pleasant surprise, and one that I’m actually glad that I went to see. It’s also one of those that I have high hopes will get the audience it deserves and will find its following once it hits home video, because it really is one of those movies that’s going to be perfect for say a “pizza and movie” night with some friends.
Oh, and one other thing… just be careful of women wielding blenders. You’ve been warned.
- Horror Review: ‘You’re Next’ (2013) (houseofgeekery.com)
- Underrated Slashers (videocarnage.wordpress.com)
- In what way does the post-modern slasher film’s way of addressing its audience differ from the original “Slasher” film? Does it connote difference or in essence still the same? (reelisticreviews.wordpress.com)