Brief Review: You’re Next (2011)

What at first seems like an interesting, serious slasher flick, You’re Next eventually reveals itself as an infrequently entertaining, but wholly trivial genre entrant. Overall, it’s a brutal, if brutally underwhelming, horror that struggles to break free of the traditional genre constraints.

The Davison family convene at their secluded home for a long-awaited reunion. A cacophony of sibling rivalry and awkward meetings of new partners ensues, but it all goes spectacularly awry when they are viciously attacked by a group of masked killers. Unbeknownst to the disguised assailants, however, Erin (Sharni Vinson) is a surprisingly skilled survivalist who simply refuses to be a victim.

After a sleep-inducing, exposition-heavy opening thirty minutes, You’re Next further descends into a self-indulgent gore-fest. It refuses to stray from the well-trodden path of past horrors. Instead the familiar formula is vehemently adhered to, burdening the film with weak, unsympathetic characters and an even weaker plot. The plot feels more an excuse for violence than an actual story, and the characters are more stereotypes than believable people.

More than anything, You’re Next is an exercise in sadism. It does become marginally more entertaining once the inevitable, yet strangely welcome, character cull gets underway, but there’s little here to lift it above the average horror film. Credit where it’s due, however, director Adam Wingard showcases an obvious flair for disturbingly gruesome violence on a shoestring budget. A trait that should stand him in good stead for any future horror efforts.

Ultimately, You’re Next is a disappointingly by-the-numbers horror. Bereft of both plot and character, this serves merely as an assortment of increasingly grisly murders. It’s essentially gore-porn, which is fine if you’re that way inclined, but if you were hoping for more, then you would be better off looking elsewhere.

2-stars

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