Among Friends

Can't Get Enough Of Drunk Baby?

SYNOPSIS:When a grad student meets her boyfriend's family for the first time - she soon must rely on her past as the daughter of survivalists to save the day -- when a gang of masked murderers threaten to kill them all.

DIRECTOR: Adam Wingard

CAST:James Ransome, Ti West, Barbara Crampton, Rob Moran, Sharni Vinson, Nick Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Margaret Laney, Amy Seimetz, Calvin Reeder, Larry Fessenden, Kate Lyn Sheil

MY THOUGHTS:One Bloody Soap Opera!

REVIEW:"You're Next" is a slasher/thriller from filmmaker Adam Wingard. That focuses on a couple Crispian (Bowen), and Erin (Vinson). One day, they decide to go up to visit Cirspian's family, so they can be properly introduced to Erin. Things start off smoothly enough, but during dinner...the family enters into a table-side argument with one another. The verbal-exchange is soon interrupted when a cross-bow-arrow comes crashing through the window, and fatally impales a member of the family. At that point, the evening quickly morphs into a fight for survival, which ties back the films gruesome opening sequence.

"You're Next" to this horror flick watcher, originally looked like a twist on "The Strangers" (2009). Another genre flick that featured masked intruders, terrorizing a group of innocents. In that films case, a young couple. Similar to this film, except the boyfriend's family is in the house as well. "You're Next" doesn't display as much suspense as "The Strangers". Nor does it set up the scares and terror as well. But one thing that "You're Next" does better, is carry more of a force-felt impact once the killers show up. They don't step into the thick of things quietly, like our trio in "The Strangers" did. They kind of "crash" this party, literally.

This works in the films favor, but also sets up a plot twist that comes later on. The movies early moments are spent really making our main protogs, look like sitting ducks. As a seemingly endless array of arrows come flying into the house, and take out family member, after family member. And those who aren't immediately killed, are badly wounded. And really are easy prey for our masked-assailants once they enter the house. Not before one confusing-yet-gory sequence though, where a character decides to try and "outrun" the incoming projectiles. In an attempt to escape and get help. The family does have one source of hope though.

Seems Crispian's "girl", Erin. Has some survivalist background in her. So she decides to take the fight to the mad killers. Who sport animal masks such as "FOX" and "WOLF", and the like. While our villains make an attempt early in the movie, to eliminate the whole family in one fell-swoop. Our heroine played by Sharni Vinson, decides to eliminate "them" by one. And does pretty well for herself throughout the movie. The character is kept grounded in the process though. No fancy Kung-Fu, or Matrix Spin Moves here. Erin uses just her wits, some luck, and anything (ANYTHING...LITERALLY)...she can get her hands on that is viable as a weapon or harm or severe injury or bludgeoning.

This makes her more than a match for the masked invaders. The picture hits somewhat of a snag though when some dirty laundry is revealed about the remaining living - players. Those who were not taken out by the cross-bow-birage. These revelations act as the movies so-called twists. I didn't see them coming, well...sort of. I assumed one half of the big plot twist prior to it being revealed. But there was one half they managed to keep me in the dark about, until they decided to let it be known. But the twist had no impact on me as a viewer, nor the film. And this is the movies weakness right here in a nutshell. The "twist" is soap-opera'ish, but at the same time.

It fits the mold of the characters in question, and their lifestyles. That being said, it's too obvious, too flat, and too expected and predictable. Not in the sense of it being revealed too early. But the twist is exactly what you'd expect from "these sorts of folks". Behavior wise I mean. That's why it doesn't work. The twist is more suited for one of these action/thrillers with a hot young cast, that involves drugs, girls, and nightclubs. It doesn't quite fit what is supposed to be a gritty, indie, horror flick.

It doesn't kill the whole movie, but I personally felt the shady motives deal could've been tweaked to be something far superior to what we got. Still, "You're Next" is worth seeing at least once. It attempts to bring back the genre away from its current doldrums of remakes, zombies, and more remakes. In that regard, as well as the strong performance of its female lead. Who makes for a well-grounded, and fun-to-root-for's a good watch.

THE GOOD:Sharni Vinson gives a terrific performance as Erin. She slowly rises to the occasion at what's happening. But by the middle of the movie, fully comes into her own as the antidote to the masked-killers and their blood-lust-driven disease. The kills are nothing fancy, and are in line with other home invasion horror pics of the past like "The Strangers" and "Last House On The Left". A perfect fit for this sort of movie. The scene where the arrows start to fly was an intense 15 minutes or so.

THE BAD:When all is revealed about some of the folks involved in all of this, it feels too soap-opera'ish to be taken seriously. The final character twist, to me? Felt forced, but had a slight hint of clever to it too. Still a bit shaky on that aspect of the movie.

OVERALL:Three stars out of four.


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