Horror movies have had a solid track record this year. Regardless of the quality, each has outperformed expectations in one manner or another. Some ended up with critical praise while others made serious bank on a small budget. Though a few misfired, the horror genre has been more successful in finding the right audience than the blockbusters this year. With the first of a slew of fall horror releases debuting this past Friday, the genre may end up with a welcoming year at the box office.
“You’re Next” is a bare bones horror movie simple but effective script that doesn’t let up once it starts going. In the film, a recently retired couple are celebrating their 35 anniversary with their children and their respective significant others. Like all families, the boys bicker and the sole daughter is the princess of the clan. As they sit down to enjoy a grand dinner, things get heated as the conversation erupts into a shouting match. But the tone takes a sharp turn when one of the dinner party is killed by an arrow coming from outside the house. Now the dysfunctional family has to work together to stay alive while being terrorized by animal mask where intruders.
The strength of “You’re Next” rests in setting up the characters. Like similarly setup “The Purge,” the film spends the first 20-30 minutes establishing relationships and showcasing how these characters act. But instead of leaving everyone as one-dimensional, the story allows for small pieces of growth between the primary roles. Sharni Vinson is not just a waif; the brothers have surprises of their own. Not to mention the twists in the third act that up the ante.
To call this film mediocre should be more a badge of approval than a demerit. With a film being delayed for two years and borrowing from recent hits, not to mention the lackluster box office wasteland of late August, the film is refreshing in how good it really is. Fans of horror films will really enjoy this film, which immediately feels like a throwback to the days of the Splatter Pack. Being crafted on a smaller, independent budget in lieu of a studio-financed sheen elevates the intimacy and strengthens the urgency of the story. On par with “The Purge” in terms of thrills, but better constructed as a whole. 3 out of 5 stars.
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