Friday, February 13, 2015

Film Review: You're Next (2011)

You're Next (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...I was utterly disappointed by this tiresome tread through cliché-ville."

Crispian (A.J. Bowen) brings his girlfriend, Erin (Sharni Vinson), to meet his rich parents and bickering siblings during a family reunion at their vacation home in the woods...

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A secluded home in the woods, not a neighbor in sight. A cast of useless characters, except for the strong female lead. A group of incompetent intruders who wear silly masks. A lot of moments of dead silence and slow movements to create a fabricated sense of suspense. Well, that's You're Next in a nutshell. Sure, the latter half of the film features some refreshing “fight back” spunk, but most of the film is riddled in clichés and plot contrivances. I mean, why do villains always recite their master plans – keep it to yourself, I don't need the convenient exposition! Eventually, You're Next ends with a bloody yet predictable finale.

Maybe it's just me, but these home invasion films are practically the same. This film injects some originality through black humor and some refreshing ideas, but it's eerily familiar. It got a couple of chuckles out of me, but it wasn't an uproarious romp. The refreshing ideas aren't as refreshing when you consider cliches from other genres. (As a matter of fact, The Last House On The Left has the whole “Fight back” idea, doesn't it?) Like I said, this felt like an action movie where the villain tells his master plan to everyone for no particular reason other than to inform the audience and for the convenience of the plot.

Aside from some of the humor, the only other saving grace for this film was the effective gore. The gore was really over-the-top. Not realistic, but it offers some “wow” moments. There wasn't much suspense in this film, though. A good slasher should keep you on edge, this one didn't really immerse me. There was also quite a few jump-scares blended into the horror of this film – none of them jolted me. In the end, I was utterly disappointed by this tiresome tread through cliché-ville.

The acting was okay. Sharni Vinson is decent as the leading lady. Although she's competent, she didn't really have the charisma or screen presence for the role. A.J. Bowen is decent, too. None of the cast really stood out to me, but it wasn't necessarily bad. The film is shot well, though. The music was also good, I liked the editing. Adam Wingard's direction is good. Although there was a severe lack of genuine suspense, he knows how to craft a scene with style. Unfortunately, the story is boring and reeks of cliches and convenience.

Overall, You're Next is a mediocre slasher. I liked some of the humor and the gore was effective. However, the story is incredibly cliché. It feels like there's a checklist for home invasion films all filmmakers agreed to using. “Dumb characters? Check. Isolated home? Check. Oh, how about the masks? Your intruders have to be wearing masks, Wingard. Yeah, check.” I haven't watched a home invasion film in some time, but I'm clearly still tired of the genre. If you're like me and you're tired of the cliches I've mentioned, skip this. It's nothing new or original, it's not even scary. But, if you're looking for a bloodbath, this might be worth your time.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sex and nudity.

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