31 Days of Reviews: You’re Next (2011)

This film was produced in 2011, but it wasn’t released until late 2013. The previews made it seem like it was going to be a re-imagining of The Strangers (2008), and while the overall theme does still seem similar, this film has a lot of different things going for it.

This movie has some pretty great cinematography. There are some artsy shots. Everything makes sense visually. They even have some fun with foreshadowing which I thought was really creative. I liked that aspect a lot.

The film does follow the ‘Last Girl’ trope that a lot of horror movies have, but I really liked this last girl. She’s a total badass. When it comes to her fight or flight response, this girl is fighting, and she is fighting really really well. There are a lot of instances where the last girl is surviving through coincidence, but this film doesn’t do that. Our last girl is surviving, and it’s because that’s what she does best.

I’ll explain a little about the film to really illustrate my point. Our main character, Erin, is meeting her boyfriend Crispian’s family for the first time. It’s clearly a dysfunctional family, and once everyone gets together the conflict really begins.. in the form of three masked strangers going on a killing spree. Erin is immediately the only person in the house with any sense about her, and she proves she can kick some massive butt. I will admit that for a while, it’s hard to understand just how Erin jumps into her super supreme survival mode so quickly. When it is finally revealed, it makes a whole lot of sense (to me at least), and it only continues to make sense throughout the rest of the movie.

You’re Next is both interesting, agitating and heartbreaking at the same time. I was looking forward to seeing it, and overall I wasn’t disappointed. It really met my expectations in all the right ways.

Now for the criticisms. I had some problems with the writing, but really when do I not, right? Some of the characters are so beyond agitating, in their lines and everything. That’s a problem that I have, but it’s not the biggest one.

My biggest complaint is that I don’t fully understand the motive. This is where I’m about to really spoil the movie for you, so if you haven’t seen the film, skip until you see the next set of asterisks.

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It is revealed at the end of the film that the attack is not random. Of course, the father figures this out himself before he’s killed, but it’s even more planned than he could have imagined. I figured that Crispian was in on it from the beginning. It was obvious that he had some really deep set problems within the family, and he had lived out his entire life dealing with those problems. What threw me for a loop though was Felix. I don’t understand Felix’s motives. It looked like they were just trying to put him in as ‘the sociopath’ which doesn’t really cut it for me anymore. On top of that, he’s dating Zee who is stereotypical media goth, moody and aroused by death. It just seemed cliche to me maybe? He had a lot of confusing lines, like “Won’t you just die already? This is hard enough on me as it is.” I understand that the overarching motive for both sons was for the family inheritance, but I found it hard to be entirely convinced by Felix.

I did love the ending dialogue between Erin and Crispian though. It was very enjoyably awkward, given the situation.

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So just to reiterate, I do recommend it. It’s fun. It has just the right amount of gore to be enjoyable (for me at least). There’s a kick-ass leading lady who never trips over herself. There’s sarcasm and foreshadowing, and I think it’s pretty great. It’s not one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely not the worst. It is on Netflix if you have the time.

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