Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


YOU'RE NEXT (2013). Director: Adam Wingard. Made in 2011; widely released in 2013.

"Would you just die already? This is hard enough for me!" -- killer to victim. 

Crispian (AJ Bowen) brings his Aussie girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) to a family reunion where she meets his mother Aubrey (Barbara Crampton of Re-animator), father Paul (Rob Moran), and assorted siblings and their spouses. Certain members of the family have their resentment issues (this aspect threatens to turn the movie into a parody at times) but a bigger problem is that one of the guests, a filmmaker named Tariq (Ti West), becomes the first victim of a trio of home invaders wearing animal masks. Raised by a survivalist father, Erin takes charge and tries to keep the members of the family focused on surviving and fighting off the vicious interlopers. As more murders occur, it becomes apparent that this is not a random attack but the family has been targeted and it may even be an inside job ... You're Next may not be any kind of cinematic masterpiece, but it is taut and suspenseful and some of the gruesome killings have a bit of imagination in Simon Barrett's screenplay [Barrett plays one of the masked killers as well]. The performances by a largely unknown cast are on the money as well. The plot may not hold up under close scrutiny, and that modern tendency to layer in black comedy is in evidence (though not that prevalent), but You're Next certainly has more than its share of exciting moments. The ending is satisfying but the filmmakers can't resist one last nasty bit of business.

Verdict: Tense and bloody thriller holds the attention. ***. 

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