You're Next

Add disco lights and it's Hotline Miami.
"Did you remember to lock your door?"

Hello and welcome to Thursday at The Tagline! I know I promised you a psychedelic disco dance through a garden of bedazzled banana hammocks today, but I saw another movie on Monday night and decided that I'm not quite ready to relive the horror of a cut-rate 1980 musical. So you all get a stay of execution, while I talk about You're Next, a movie where no one gets a stay of execution. Whenever a horror movie manages to claw itself out of the 10-30% range of critical reception, I sort of feel compelled to go see it, if only to deduce whether the positive reviews are stemming from the movie being good, or the movie being just pretentious enough to garner favor. When a movie makes the jump from film festival to wide release, that also gets my attention. So it was with You're Next, a movie first screened in 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival, that presents itself as a home invasion movie, and then... takes a bit of a turn. Like any good movie about people being murdered in their home, this movie takes place in the middle of nowhere, at the home of the Davisons. The very huge, one might almost say palatial, home of the Davisons. To be more specific, the vacation home of Paul and his wife Aubrey, where they plan to host a reunion of sorts with their three sons, their daughter, and whatever spousal refuse they track in with them (like Ti West in a hipster scarf for instance. Gross). Things are going to get really spoilery under the cut, so prepare yourself and you've been warned.

Remember, after you kill a guy with an axe: strike a pose.
At the beginning of the movie, we are treated to some gross college professor on college undergrad sex scene, and then get to see both of them murdered. We discover shortly after that these were the Davison's only neighbors up in No-One-Lives-Here USA. Then we're introduced to Crispian and his girlfriend Erin, Crispian being also a college adjunct and Erin being his former student, TA... there seems to be a lot of that going around in this movie. Not important, whatever, moving on. Crispian's older brother Drake arrives with his wife, his younger brother Felix shows up with his really shady looking girlfriend who's name is Zee, which is cool I guess, and Crispian's younger sister shows up with her douchebag boyfriend Tariq, who makes pretentious documentaries, making him only a slight variation on Ti West's actual life, as a douchebag who makes shitty horror movies. Dinner takes an ugly turn when Drake and Crispian start fighting, because Drake is also a douche and Crispian is a kind of slimy wiener too actually, but the fighting is broken up by Ti West getting shot in the forehead by a crossbow bolt outside. Soon everyone is screaming and panicking, and it becomes clear that at least one person is outside trying to murder everyone inside. Only it is not one person it is three and they are all wearing creepy animal masks.

That looks a lot like not blood.
So this seems to be progressing pretty typically until slowly something becomes apparent. Crispian's kind of awkward Aussie girlfriend Erin, is reverting to some sort of deep ingrained survival training, and taking organized action against the assailants outside of the house. She is still fearful, because she isn't experienced, but she is clearly trained. It is revealed later in the movie that Erin spent the first 15 years of her life living in a survivalist compound with her paranoid father and his paranoid friends. As such, she has a broad suite of skills geared towards the maiming and killing of assailants, which she immediately puts to use. This puts a considerable kink in the attacker's plan, especially when Erin beats on of them to death with a meat tenderizer. You could see how having your skull bashed in with a tiny metal mallet might impede your ability to kill people. The idea of a sort of counter-killer inside the house, against a team of invading killers, changes the tone of the movie somewhat. She is still scared, and everyone else is still fairly useless, but there is a real hunter becoming the hunted thing going on in the movie.

Look at these assholes.
Also the movie is gory as hell. Like really gross. Just people having their throats slit and bleeding everywhere and being stabbed in the neck and eyes.... It almost seems a shame to ruin it, but one guy gets smashed in the head with a blender pitcher, stabbed with the metal blender blade, and then she plugs in the blender and blends him to death in his skull. The first thing I was thinking was that this was maybe the grossest thing ever. I also thought that must be a pretty spectacular blender. I mean it chewed right through the guy's skull, that's a pretty extreme food processor right there. I know the news and various critics are always saying that media has made us all desensitized to portrayals of violence but I have to say... I certainly didn't feel desensitized to the grisly spectacles taking place in this film. In particular Erin lays a series of pretty clever traps, that start to turn the movie into a kind of really gruesome version of Home Alone.

What a shitty dinner party.
While a lot of critics feel like this movie was really unoriginal (and certainly it is derivative in many ways from previous home invasion type movies) I still felt that the movie put an interesting spin on an established formula. Also if you like really gory ass movies, this one will be a really pleasing experience for you. I don't personally love that in a movie, but I could appreciate the clear enthusiasm behind all the murder going on. I also found certain parts of the movie to be fairly funny, in a dark sort of way. In particular there are some moments after the movie's big reveal (which I haven't even told you wow go me! I managed to get around it) that were pretty amusing. As a person not invested in horror as a genre, I can recommend this movie if you're in the mood for some bloody amusement. But like... really bloody.

That's it for today! I promise to make good on earlier threats, and subject you to the worst film produced in 1980 involving sequins.

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