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Movie Review

You're Next

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.

Reviewed by: Spencer Schumacher
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Suspense Horror Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
September 24, 2011 (festival)
August 23, 2013 (wide—2,400+ theaters)
DVD: January 14, 2014
Copyright, Lionsgate click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

a family comes under attack by sadistic killers

reality of home invasions

prayer

murder

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

torture

revenge

“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

Featuring: Sharni Vinson … Erin
Nicholas Tucci … Felix
Wendy Glenn … Zee
AJ Bowen … Crispian
Joe Swanberg … Drake
Sarah Myers … Kelly
Amy Seimetz … Aimee
more »
Director: Adam Wingard
Producer: HanWay Films
Snoot Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Lionsgate

“Did you remember to lock your door?”

The origin of the sub-genre known as “home-invasion” movies can probably be traced back to 1967 when Audrey Hepburn played a blind suburbanite terrorized by a group of home invaders. Within the next ten years, this sub-genre would take a darker turn with the subsequent releases of “The Last House on the Left” (1972), “Black Christmas” (1974), and “I Spit On Your Grave” (1978), all of which have recently been remade. The new “home-invasion horror” flick from director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett falls squarely in the camp of those latter 70’s films.

A lot of casual horror movie fans might view the trailer(s) of this film or glance over a review of this festival favorite (it’s been floating around since 2011) and hear statements such as “fun,” “audience winner” or “reinvents the genre” and think the film “You’re Next” is just another lukewarm, neo-horror film that Hollywood is churning out in droves these days. One might be lead to believe it’s in the vein of the “Scream” films, or the “Final Destination” franchise or possibly akin to “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and think that you’re in for a rollicking afternoon of laughs and light chills, let me assure you, “You’re Next” is NOT one of those films.

This movie is what some in the industry call a “hard-R,” meaning it earns each and every aspect of that rating. It has an “R” rating for a few sex scenes (one of which is graphic for reasons that have little to do with the sexual act, and most viewers will find offensive and discomforting) and brief nudity, some profanity and sexual dialog, but the content that viewers should be most aware of is the unrelentingly violent nature of this film.

The plot of “You’re Next” is pretty genre-standard and basic. The Davision family is having a family reunion and has invited their four adult children and their significant others to join them at their countryside home. The house is very impressive, with multiple rooms that allow everyone a space of their own and the ability to spread out. Another significant attribute of the house (and the house is a significant character in this film) is that it’s in the middle of the wilderness and the nearest neighbors are a far ways off, well at least not within the range to scream for help.

The reunion turns dramatically violent when the family is brutally attacked by mask-wearing home invaders wielding axes and crossbows. If you have been watching TV or looking at billboards recently, there is no doubt you have seen these “eerie” looking animal-masked intruders. These “robbers” wear plastic animal masks that look like forest creatures out of a Grimm fairy tale.

From the first attack, it is apparent these “creatures” are not there to steal or rob, their purpose is more exact, they have come to kill the family and no one is really sure why. Since the family is well off, there is an underlying theme of social class below the surface of this eerily, grizzly movie.

The movie makes a sharp turn about ½ through when it is revealed that one of son’s girlfriends, Erin (Sharni Vinson), is a nature survivalist that has trained in the Australian outback. She turns the tables on these mask-wearing killers, and the film goes from a “home-invasion horror” flick to a vigilante picture, and though the hunters now become the hunted, the violence perpetrated does not abate, but only grows more intense.

Recent horror movies seem to be firmly rooted in one of two camps. On one side, you have horror films that are trying to appeal to the largest possible audience while still maintaining a foot in the “horror” genre. These films typically garner a PG/PG-13 rating for some profanity, and thematic elements of horror, but, when it comes to violence, the film is usually pretty tame and just about all actual killing is done off screen, away from the viewers’ eyes; “World War Z” and “The Conjuring” are two most recent examples. Then there’s the second camp, in which “You’re Next” is deeply entrenched. These films do not shy away from intense scenes of graphic violence and torture. They are very dark and the violence is all up on the screen. Recent examples of these films include “The Hills Have Eyes,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Evil Dead,” “The Last House on the Left,” “Straw Dogs” (I am referring here to the remakes, the originals were comparatively pretty tame) “The Descent” and “High Tension.” If you have seen or heard anything about any of these movies, then you know what to expect with “You’re Next.”

Let’s be clear, if you are looking to be scared, I might even contend terrified, then “You’re Next” will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. This film is very intense, and parts of it are truly frightening. In regards to delivering what a horror movie is intended to do, this film definitely does the job. Through much of the movie, the director toys with the audience; I would go so far as to contend that the audience is being manipulated.

In regards to objectionable material, there are about 20 instances of profane words of the four-letter variety (15 f-bombs, and a handful of various other colorful descriptors). There is also some sexual dialog. In addition, there are two sex scenes, and a third scene where a woman takes off her bra momentarily, and there is brief nudity. The movie starts off with a sex scene (which is more referential to earlier 70’s films than actually sexual), and, after it ends, while the man goes to take a shower, the woman walks around with a robe slightly undone and her breast is briefly exposed.

There is a sexual scene later in the film, that though it does have a couple engaging in a sexual act, the act itself is not what will offend most audience members, but the object that is in the bed with them that audiences members will find unsettling.

For Christian viewers, the thematic element of vengeance/retribution, which is intrinsic to “home-invasion” movies, will also prove troubling. The third act of the film centers on the victims turning the tables on their tormentors.

The aspect of “You’re Next” that will upset most viewers is the overwhelming violence of the film. There are many scenes of graphic violence that are far too numerous to list here; most of which would offend some readers based on the descriptions alone. I would submit that if you’re uncomfortable with the description of violence, this movie is absolutely not for you. In addition, getting into the specific violent acts of this picture would reveal plot points in the story that would serve as spoilers for those who may indeed want to see this film. I will suffice to say that those who are on the fence and are concerned about its subject matter should AVOID THIS FILM. The killings (and there are many) in “You’re Next” are not subtle and involve sharp, piercing objects with blades and blunt edges, and much of the time the only thing that’s going to keep you from seeing the violence/carnage inflicted by these objects is by turning your head or closing your eyes, because the filmmakers are not going to allow you that luxury with cutaways.

There is something kind of sinister at play here, as the filmmakers try to lure the viewers into a false sense of security. The film starts off seeming like a generic 70s “slasher film” (of which this film pays great homage), and some of the killing does take place off camera. It’s when you start feeling comfortable that the film releases its most graphic form of carnage. Yes, the filmmakers are daring you to keep your eyes open, they’re daring you to look. They’re winking at you just as they are when they tell you, “You’re Next.”

Still on the fence with this one, here’s a reference point: The first half of the movie is “The Last House on the Left,” the second half is “Straw Dogs” (I’m referring here to the remakes). This hopefully gives you a reasonable idea of what you’re getting into if you decide to accept the producers’ invitation and check out “You’re Next.”

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
You’re Next (2013)
Positive—As a horror fan I am growing a bit tired of the home-invasion subgenre. There are only so many stories to tell so you have to work very hard to impress me. And while there is not a lot new to you’re Next it’s at least well done. The premise is simple—a family reunites at the family vacation home with their significant others, there is tension in the family, there is an attack and family members are picked off but one of the girlfriends fights back. The biggest problem with the film is that it is actually one big satire but I’d say a good 90% of audiences aren’t in on the joke. On the surface, it’s a standard home invasion horror film. To the cinema-savvy audience it’s much more than that. A chunk of the cast is made up of directors working in the genres of horror and mumble-core (low budget, dialog heavy comedic-dramas that tend to drive a lot of people up the wall).

Plus there is a streak of black, black, really black humor running through the second half. All in all, if you dug The Strangers you might dig this one. It’s fun and one of my favorite horror films of the year.
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—John B [Faith: Agnostic], age 31 (USA)
Negative
Negative—After seeing the trailer to this movie, I knew it would be a hit… well at least for me. Boy was I wrong! I so much wanted to enjoy this movie, but it fell flat. Extremely predictable, boring and also not at all very scary. There were some parts where I got really annoyed, especially during the dinner scene before the chaos started. What kind of family is this exactly? I think greed was the scary part, not the killings.

Yes, it’s gory and bloody but absolutely nothing new. The only character I admired was the main girl with the Australian accent. The rest I did not care for or was given enough time to invest. This could have been so much more! Seems to me, the producers were interested in making money more than to entertain.

As for the biblical side, we do see the family saying Grace before dinner but that’s it. I know for a fact that if I was being stalked, the first thing I would do is fall on my knees and pray to God for courage and strength. Again, I wouldn’t say its the worst movie but just very disappointing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Andrew, age 31 (United Kingdom)

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