1 and a half stars.
Let it be known from the outset: You’re Next is completely incompetent in its ability to scare or even thrill.
You’re Next is receiving a lot of praise around the block for reasons that, after actually seeing the film, completely escape me. Sure it’s delectably violent, revelling in OTT gore, and the pitch black humour it offers briefly on the side works to the film’s favour. However, the truth of the matter is, aside from the intermittent scenes that embrace the aforementioned qualities there’s nothing overly enjoyable about this film.
Survival horror film You’re Next comes from indie director Adam Wingard and stars Australia’s own Sharni Vinson whose natural accent, as one character puts it, is indeed quite jarring. Simon Barrett penned the script, and when it’s not agonisingly mundane it’s completely laughable (except for the above-mentioned transitory virtues.) Characters generally have to make moronic choices in horror films; otherwise fans wouldn’t actually get the horror film they seek. But new horror films, at the very least, should break away from being overtly conventional, derivative and uninspired with the way they handle this trope. At least recent films like Scream 4, The Cabin In The Woods and Evil Dead all depicted the classic clichés with a degree of intelligence and wit either by mocking them or embracing them to the campiest extremes. You’re Next doesn’t do either.
The premise is simple, which generally means it’s the kind of idea that can become an instant classic or total flunk based solely on execution. It’s not the story’s fault; it’s the way they told it. You’re Next is about a home invasion during a family reunion of sorts up at a large, antiquated property far removed from civilisation (save for one set of distant neighbours). After meeting far too many characters that are all either completely boring or horrendously irritating, and spending a terribly extended portion of the film failing to showcase any character development, the fun looks set to start when uninvited ‘guests’ wearing farm animal masks arrive. But the potential for a fun ride quickly dissipates into a nauseating experience thanks to horribly unconvincing performances and a script that begs desperately for just a modicum of coherency, intelligence and inspiration.
There is some gold to be found in these murky rivers with some truly glorious and at times creative gore, mostly accompanied by a whiff of severely dark comical sensibility. For the most part though, You’re Next is dull, insipid and oh so very grating.
Reviewer: David Thomas Williams