Oh boy, a Purge ripoff. Well, I guess I just gave away my opinion of You’re Next in one sentence, huh? Admittedly, stuck in between James Wan’s The Conjuring on one side and the highly anticipated Insidious: Part II on the other is not a pleasant place to be, but the fact of the matter is that You’re Next is yet another lackluster entry in the already bloated genre of home invasion horror.
Directed by Adam Wingard (V/H/S, A Horrible Way to Die) and written by Simon Barrett, You’re Next tells the fairly predictable story of a family gathering gone horribly awry when a group of masked killers begins dispatching the guests in the most inefficient ways possible, all while the inexplicably capable femme fatale, Erin, fights back as best she can. There’s a big twist that Barrett wrote into the story which is ostensibly intended to be some kind of revelation once exposed, but those clever folks who pay even the slightest bit of attention to the plot will likely be able to figure it out for themselves by the end of the first act.
Starring a bunch of people that you’ve probably never heard of before, it would come as no surprise that the acting is sometimes cringeworthy, especially at the beginning of the film when it’s required that the characters have more lines then panting and screaming. I know that a lot of people will immediately jump down my throat for criticizing the acting in a horror movie, yet my question is “when did it become frowned upon to have high standards?” There are plenty of horror films with brilliant acting, and just because it’s a genre with niche appeal doesn’t mean that filmmakers can get away with that kind of thing.
A lot of critics have said that You’re Next has reinvented the genre, which makes me wonder if we were actually watching the same movie. There are almost no ideas here that haven’t been done by other films and infinitely better. Here are just a few movies off the top of my head that You’re Next blatantly ripped off: Funny Games, The Strangers, The Purge, Assault on Precinct 13, literally any zombie movie, that scene in Patriot Games– the list goes on an on. To me, this film has a bad case of “me too” syndrome, in that the creative team might have been thinking something to the effect of “Hey, since people liked The Purge so much, why don’t we just make more of it?” which, upon, reflection, probably accounts for the creation of a lot of ill conceived movies this year.
You’re Next has been praised for its dark comedy and “interesting” premise, both of which are barely there and unfortunately don’t make up for the story dragging on mercilessly for the first hour or so. One of the most pressing issues I had with the film was that it was just boring. Granted, things begin to pick up slightly towards the end, after all of the antagonists are revealed and their motivations explained- which, by the way, is the single sure fire way to remove all mystery and intrigue from a movie like this- but, again, it’s really too little too late.
Horror fans will likely recognize You’re Next for the bland little experience that it is, and I expect that everyone else will probably be saving their cash for Insidious. Though You’re Next certainly gives The Purge a run for its money as the worst horror movie of 2013, I suppose I have to reluctantly award some points for death by blender.
Rating: 2 out of 5