DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: TIFF 2011 - You're Next!

Saturday 17 September 2011

TIFF 2011 - You're Next!

You're Next! (2011) dir. Adam Wingard
Starring: Sharni Vinson, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Barbara Crampton, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, Amy Seimetz, Ti West and Larry Fessenden


By Greg Klymkiw

This energetic, crisply directed home invasion horror thriller delivers up the scares and gore with considerable panache. I absolutely loved the delightfully grotesque look of the killers in You're Next! Wearing ultra-creepy animal masks (like those really cute lifelike ones you can buy for your kids at Zoo gift shops), the deadly home-invading carnage-purveyors might only have been creepier if they all wore matching Larry Harmon Bozo the Clown masks. (Or even creepier than that, if they WERE actually ALL Larry Harmon - but that, I'm afraid is another movie.)

In addition to the aforementioned, the picture is chock-full of babes including a mega-kick-ass Aussie chick played spiritedly by Sharni Vinson whose character, it is revealed, was raised in a survivalist compound Down Under. (I kid you not! An Aussie Survivalist Babe!!!)

So, what's not to like?

Well, not that I expect much in the way of originality from this sort of movie, especially if the killings are conceived and dispatched with both humour and aplomb - as they most certainly are in the picture, but the big disappointment is one of those: " Oh fuck, I can see an obvious 'twist' coming from miles away and I hope to Christ it's just a red herring and the filmmakers surprise me with something as sick and twisted - if not more so - than what's already on display in terms of the gore." But no! There it is in all its dullsville glory - the dreaded twist I won't reveal for the great unwashed who don't see it coming!

Come on, guys! Give me a break. Frankly, I'd have been happier if there was NO reason given for the killings save for a whack of psychos just doing what psychos do best. That really would have been better than the, uh... twist.

In any event, the first half of the movie proceeds like a delightful bat out of hell. An affluent couple (the female half played by the still-delectable Re-Animator babe Barbara Crampton) are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in their ultra-chic country mansion and have invited all their kids and assorted significant others to join them. The characters sharing bloodlines are straight out of some lower-drawer Albee or O'Neill play and the conversation round the dinner table plays out with plenty of funny, nasty sniping.

Great stuff!

Then the killing starts!

Even Greater!

And then, the aforementioned plot twist!

Uh, not great! Not good! Not even passable.

Thankfully, the carnage continues, but for this genre geek, the movie never quite recovers from a twist that was probably meant to be clever or something. I hate that! This is exactly the sort of thing that can drag potentially great genre pictures right down the crapper. It's too bad, really, because I really think screenwriter Simon Barrett has a lot more going for him that resorting to crap like that. He delivers a decent backdrop, first-rate sniping and a passel of great killings.

And, of course, let's not forget the babe raised on a survival compound in Australia.

Now that is truly inspired!!!

You're Next was unveiled at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2011) and while as of this writing it has not secured a distribution deal, it will. And it will no doubt be gangbusters at the boxoffice - in spite of the stupid... God I want to spoil it for those of you who are too boneheaded to not see it coming, but I won't.

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