You're Next (2011) *1/2
D: Adam Wingard
C: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Barbara Crampton, Rob Moran, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Lane Hughes, Larry Fessenden
Plot Synopsis: A family reunion is disrupted when masked intruders descend upon a country estate killing off each family member one by one. What are their motives and why have they chosen this family as their next target?
Review: I've heard horror fans describe You're Next as an old school film. Personally speaking, anytime I hear someone use the phrase old school, I shake my head in disbelief. This phrase is often used as cop out. It's like the filmmakers get a free pass on trying to do something original, by simply saying that their film is old school. When making a so called old school film, what legitimate purpose does this so called old school style serve to the central plotline?
They play a catchy little song (Looking for Magic), every once in a while, to try and evoke old school style, but old school style has to be something that is organic and develops out of necessity. They throw in two well known horror veterans, Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator) & Larry Fessenden (Habit), as a nod to old school horror, but for what? Crampton is pretty much reduced to running around and crying on que. And as quickly as Fessenden appears on screen, he disappears just as quickly. You're Next fails to utilize either of these actors in a way that makes me remember why I became a fan of there's to begin with.
What we have here is just another standard home invasion flick in the same vein as The Strangers. I thought the overall pacing in The Strangers was a bit problematic, but at least it kept me on the edge of my seat. You're Next gets caught up in one repetitive scene after another in which the characters come under attack. The characters argue about what to do, some fight back and then someone is disposed of. This scenario is repeated until there's only a final girl left. Yeah, there's a plot twist, but I saw that coming from miles away.
Writing this review and pondering over You're Next, I was reminded of two films that caught that old school type mentality - Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives and Camp Slaughter. In Camp Slaughter, the characters are caught up in a time warp in which they are forced to relive their deaths. Camp Slaughter found a way to integrate retro type style that was in service of the film's plot. Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives managed to capture the essence of an old school film with an outrageous premise, outrageous characters and outrageous dialogue. It manged to capture that over the top sensibility that was present in the old school films of the 70's.
Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives and Camp Slaughter took me back to another time, another place, another era and reminded me of the sense of wonder and awe that I used to feel when watching old school films. Neither film was perfect, but they managed to capture my imagination and they kept me interested (and often surprised) as to what was going to unfold next. You're Next is more of the same old, same old - recycled, repackaged. [R] 95 mins.
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