You're Next - DVD Review

'yet another soulless and vacuous entry into a genre saturated with sub-par fare'

You’re Next in essence brings about as many new ideas to the home invasion subcategory of the horror genre as The Purge, another 2013 release; but whilst the latter film was largely panned by critics (including in Sam’s review on this very site, and which largely reflects my own opinions on James DeMonaco’s film), director Adam Wingard’s movie has received a more positive reaction, with many lauding it as one of the freshest horror offerings of recent years. If you’ve come to this review to find out why that is, then you’re about to be sorely disappointed: You’re Next is for the most part yet another soulless and vacuous entry into a genre saturated with sub-par fare just like it.

Wingard’s film makes a number of mistakes inherent in many recent unsatisfying horror offerings. Basing his story around a long-overdue reunion of the dysfunctional Davison family, the director can’t resist introducing far too many characters in the opening twenty minutes - a matriarch and patriarch, plus their three sons and daughter, plus each of their partners, for a grand total of ten - meaning none of them ever feels developed. The knock-on effect of this is of course that when characters do start getting bumped off, it’s very hard to care.

The dispatch methods used by the killers have been a source of praise for You’re Next. But whilst there are some innovatively stomach-churning kills - including one of the most effective deployments of piano wire seen on screen for some time - a fair amount of the ideas here are really quite ordinary. Wingard allows his film to drift further and further from the realistic feel of the first hour towards a more cartoonish, Evil Dead-esque style in the final thirty minutes or so. The finale feels like a gruesome 18-certificated remake of Home Alone, and whilst it’s somewhat entertaining in a ludicrous fashion, it leaves the film as a whole feeling decidedly uneven.

No amount of blood-soaked Kevin McCallister tributes can make up for the fact that, beneath it all, the story here is predictable and stale, played out by characters you either don’t care about or feel uncomfortable spending time watching. The people being hunted are only marginally more interesting than those hunting them, especially after the killers’ creepy animal masks come off. Add to this a smattering of plot holes (there is literally no reason why the first two victims in the opening scene are killed, for example) and You’re Next deserves its place somewhere near the bottom of your local supermarket’s £3 bargain bin in the next few months.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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