Well, if a body count is what you want, You’re Next delivers.
The film follows four siblings and their significant others through a dinner celebrating their parents’… something or other. After 20 minutes of boring pipe-laying establishing family turmoil that’s supposed to be representative of… something or other, a group of masked men start killing them all, finally giving the audience reason to pay attention.
The most outstanding feature of You’re Next has been the critical response. Before wide release, it was a darling on Rotten Tomatoes. After real people began to watch it, it fell precipitously to 73 percent, where it stands as of this writing.
That tells you all you need to know. You’re Next is a movie made for well-schooled horror fans. It’s a medley of tropes that are both played straight in some parts of the movie but subverted in others, which allows the genre-savvy to see anything they want.
What does this film offer the average moviegoer? Not much.
The plot is solid, but razor-thin. The acting is largely terrible, except for Sharni Vinson’s main character. Experienced horror director Adam Wingard is a quiet pilot who doesn’t do anything too jarring with the camerawork.
There are 16 gore-filled, squelchy kills in this movie, and that’s pretty much it. There’s a purity about it that’s very attractive, and the action is fake enough for the faint of heart and intense enough for real thrill-seekers.
Maybe, just maybe, the poor acting and barely-there plot is the director’s method of overtly making the to-be-killed characters unsympathetic and making the plot unimportant, satirizing common horror films that pay just enough attention to humanizing the cannon fodder and fleshing out the story that it becomes a problem. It’s his way of saying… something or other about the state of horror movies today.
Or maybe this is just another sub-par slasher movie.
Joshua Knopp is a formerly professional film critic, licensed massage therapist, journalism and film student at the University of North Texas and a senior staff writer for the NT Daily. He is still laughing about Ben Affleck. For questions, rebuttals and further guidance about cinema, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. At this point, I’d like to remind you that you shouldn’t actually go to movies and form your own opinions. That’s what I’m here for. Be sure to come back in a couple of weeks for a review of Insidious: Chapter 2.