Saturday, December 12, 2015

You're Next (2013)

As the holidays is a time for sitting around a table with people you're not sure you like, I figured I'd take a crack at one of the movies that shows exactly what it's like to sit at a table with people you hate and then die from an arrow to the throat. You know, like you do. This is You're Next.

Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci

Co-written with Colin.

This is apparently a part of a new subgenre called “mumblegore,” which I can only imagine is referring to the endless mumbling every single character has in place of real dialogue. As You're Next doesn't have much mumbling and instead just has regular, shitty dialogue, I have to say this is a bad example of mumblegore. Then again I might have the wrong definition of what mumblegore is. But I'm always right, so I doubt that.

I rated this movie the worst of 2013 back on my list for that year. It was nearly unwatchable when I didn't know what to expect. But now that I know to set my expectations lower than the water level of Florida for this, I don't have the same frothing hatred for it. Plus I teamed up with Cinema Freaks alum and sometimes-contributor The Observer for this, like old times, so it was a little better that way.

The movie begins with a scene of characters we don't know fucking. As an added bonus of worthlessness, they aren't the main characters, and we don't know their names and never see them again. But the opening does provide us with one of the staples of any erotic porno: the erotic orange juice pouring scene!


Anyway, they're killed off, and we then move on to our main annoyances – a bunch of people meeting up at this big house for their parents' anniversary dinner. The mother and father get there first and things are already weird. Like all good horror movies, there's a pointless and dragged out scene where the father searches upstairs for the source of a mysterious noise that scared the mother, only to find out it was his weenie of a son Crispian rummaging around up there.

"Hey Dad, I know how much you liked being jump scared, so of course I had to do it this way!"

Red herring, awesome! How did Crispian get up there without them seeing him come in downstairs? Did he scale up the wall like Spider-Man? Was there a secret passage in this house? I mean, it does kind of look like the house from the Clue board games.

The main character is Erin, an Australian girl who's dating Crispian. They lay around later and spew soulless exposition to lay out the very easy story – their parents are having an anniversary and all Crispian's siblings are coming the next day. That's really the only reason to film this scene, to info-dump that on us. Uh, great job? I think you should go back to just mumbling everything, movie.

The family gets there, and it's basically all downhill from there. They argue over silly things like how unprofessional it is for Crispian, a teacher, to date Erin, who used to be one of his students. His brother is a real dick about it and they erupt into a full scale battle over it immediately, ruining their parents' anniversary like champs!

Fortunately, the parents were used to their children being insufferable morons.

As that apparently was enough character development to last an entire film, we're just done with all that shit now, and it's time for people to start dying. A bunch of unknown killers start shooting arrows into the house, which is frankly a blessing in disguise for these miserable people. They kill a few people, and the survivors huddle together and attempt to plan a way out. One of the girls volunteers, saying she's a very fast runner, but then she runs in stupid slow-mo cam and gets hit by barbed wire in the neck the second she opens the doors!

That isn't a camera trick - she just runs really slow and lies about being fast.

So it was a terrible idea, but at least that scene was pretty funny. So there was that. There's another killer waiting under the bed, who stabs the mom. He was apparently there for quite some time, and he still can't kill the rest of them. I guess it's just more conveniently dramatic that he did it this way. Of course no one else finds him and there's nothing that comes of this aside from the mom's death. What, did you want something actually interesting to happen? Pfft.

But to be fair, we DID need a hokey title drop scene!

The next thirty-odd minutes is just them scampering around in the house and sometimes dying. The fact that the characters wear animal masks really is pretty dumb. Somehow, Jason Voorhees always came off as somewhat menacing, but these guys are just clowns. There's no mystique, even before you get to the twist later. It just looks like the killers were lazy and had no imagination, so they grabbed the worst, cheapest masks at Party City.

It's revealed somewhere in the middle of all this that the main girl Erin was actually a child of a survivalist who learned how to fight and survive attacks just like this as a child. It's kind of glossed over, but the idea of a kid growing up in that environment is actually pretty cool. I certainly would have liked to see that instead of the movie we ended up getting!

Seriously, though, it's really just shoehorned in there because they needed SOMEONE to fight back, or else we'd have no movie! It's like “hey, we can't just have them kill everyone off, the movie will be over in ten minutes.” “Okay, whatever, throw in a survivalist character. Make her a hot chick, too.” Movie saved!

The best part (read: worst part) of this is that she didn't tell her boyfriend Crispian yet, for no reason other than that it would conflict with the plot twist of him being a killer later, and if he'd known she was a badass fighter, he never would have brought her, and we wouldn't have a fucking movie. Good writing! High five!

Then it's revealed, I guess, that the whole thing has been a plot by some of the family members to get their parents' inheritance money. You know how it goes, sometimes you're down on cash, and you need to stage an all-night-long murder fest in which everyone gets shot by arrows. Fucking please. There was no other way to enact this plan? You HAD to put on dumb animal masks and shoot everyone with arrows one by one? I guess poisoning their food or just hiring a guy to walk in with a gun would have been too much. But really they just didn't do those things because then there would have been no movie.

There's just no humanity to these characters, and no reason for them to act the way they do. I'm not saying we need a long exploration of their motivations, but what do we get instead of any development? A scene of the brother's goth girlfriend asking him to fuck her next to his mom's dead body on the bed? Yeah, I can see what they were going for now. I take it all back.

The rest of the movie doesn't even really try. It's full of dumpster-bin cliché like the henchmen thugs working themselves into a self-righteous lather when one of their own gets killed. HOW DARE YOU FIGHT BACK WHEN WE'RE TRYING TO KILL YOU!!! Maybe your job security isn't that good on this job after all!

The chase scenes are pretty goofy, too. One highlight for us was the guy who tries to step through a window. He sees the one row of nails on a wooden board, goes 'okay, I can do it,' and then steps down without even looking and impales his own foot on another nail. He then starts galumphing around and probably making it worse, because what horror movie has NOT been helped by comparisons to a Looney Tunes cartoon?

Just add the Roadrunner giving the audience a wink and it'll be gold.

Then there's the scene where Erin kills a guy with a blender, which totally is something she was taught in survivalist camp, I'm sure. That's just basic 101 stuff.

Oh, and the height of ridiculousness has to be when it's revealed that Crispian was a part of the whole thing, as the movie had kept him out of action for the last 40 minutes and made you wonder. He gives a very stupid, shitty speech in the most callous way possible about how he just wanted money so they could go on vacation, and c'maaaaaaaaahhhnnn, babe, don't you see why this was a good idea?! He really sounds like he's talking about not tipping a server at a restaurant, when he's actually saying he hired some guys to kill most of his family for money. It's just about the dumbest thing I've seen in the movie yet, which is no small feat.

"Hey, I'm a real catch, I killed my family so we could get some extra pocket money. On second thought, saying it out loud, maybe this was a bad idea. Man am I dead inside!"

So she kills Crispian, and then the cops come in and shoot Erin too, because I guess they hated having clean work performance records and wanted to be total fuck-ups. This scene was kinda like Night of the Living Dead, though! In...pretty much the only weird comparison to that classic flick that You're Next will ever draw.

This is a piss poor movie with nothing to recommend, frankly. Bad characters, no good scares, no atmosphere, and oh yeah, a tired home invasion plot with a weak twist at the end. There's really no exploration of the theme they seemed to be going for, this whole idea of a Great Gatsby-esque profane wealth, and what wealth does to people, makes them crazy and moral-less, et cetera. That seemed like the basic idea they wanted to get across. But instead, it was just a shitty home invasion movie, and you never really gleaned any point.

It's basically complete shit. Shame, because it seemed like it could have been good, based on the people involved, but I guess you can't win 'em all. Anyway, at least your holiday family dinners won't be as bad in comparison.

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