TribLIVE

| AandE

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

'You're Next' villains, victims do a switcheroo

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Pittsburgher movie quiz for yunz

Is 'Birdman' star Michael Keaton the best actor with western Pennsylvania ties? Click here to play the Trib's tongue-in-cheek attempt to find out.

By Mark Jenkins
Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 7:04 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Movies

  1. DVD reviews: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ ‘The D Train’ and ‘Good Kill’
  2. Prolific horror film writer-director Wes Craven dies at 76
  3. Check out trailers for Pittsburgh-shot ‘Concussion’ and ‘Love the Coopers’
  4. IMAX film ‘Robots’ shows how special humans are
  5. Review: Redford, Nolte breeze through Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’
  6. Review: ‘Meru’ is a documentary that soars
  7. Review: ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ as rewarding as it is squirm-inducing
  8. Review: ‘The Look of Silence’ speaks volumes
  9. Review: ‘We Are Your Friends’ plays a rather tired tune
  10. Review: ‘‘Turbo Kid’ a fun, retro ride whose trick wears thin