'You're Next' villains, victims do a switcheroo
Frequently, horror movies send some useful idiots to a remote location, and then hack them up victim by victim. But what might happen if one of the potential corpses had some self-defense savvy?
Nothing especially surprising, as “You're Next” demonstrates. But the latest genre exercise from slasher-flick prodigy Adam Wingard (“A Horrible Way to Die”) is, at times, bloodily entertaining. And if the central plot twist isn't all that clever, at least the movie offers some motivation for its mayhem.
That's not apparent at first. In the prologue, two residents of a vacation home are butchered for no apparent reason by black-suited berserkers who wear animal masks. Wingard and scripter Simon Barrett redeem this sequence with a sly joke: Just before she's killed, one of the victims puts the Dwight Twilley Band's “Looking for the Magic” on repeat. It plays for the rest of the movie.
The major bloodbath takes place just up the road at another vacation home, a fake-Tudor mansion owned by a couple whose wealth comes from, heh heh, defense contracting. Paul and Aubrey (Rob Moran and Barbara Crampton) have invited their four adult children (and their significant others) for a 35th-anniversary celebration.
The three sons and their partners are college professor Crispian (A.J. Bowen) and the teaching assistant he has promoted to girlfriend status, Erin (Sharni Vinson); smugly successful Drake (Joe Swanberg) and vapid Kelly (Margaret Laney); and jumpy Felix (Nicholas Tucci) and goth-girl Zee (Wendy Glenn). The couple's daughter, Aimee (Amy Seimetz), arrives with underground documentary maker Tariq (Ti West, who — in real life — makes, of course, horror flicks).
Most of these characters are disagreeable, so the prospect of their imminent demise isn't too upsetting. The movie doesn't dawdle in revealing the houseguest who's going to put up a fight.
Once the predators become prey, however, “You're Next” becomes livelier. Also funnier, although the jokes tend toward the ghastly. Still, it's a nice switch to see a one-by-one murder spree in which an inexorable killer is fighting to save rather than end lives. Even if that effort is not particularly successful.
Mark Jenkins is a contributing writer for The Washington Post.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.