White people problems, am I right?
Written By: Simon Barrett
Directed By: Adam Wingard
I liked You’re Next, but I didn’t love this 2011 horror film. Maybe this is a case of too much hype working against the film, but I don’t think so as I managed to avoid most of the hype for You’re Next. Nope, my almost lukewarm reaction to Adam Wingard’s film has to do with the filmmaking, or more specifically the writing from Simon Barrett. That’s not to say there’s anything to really hate about You’re Next, but there are a few key areas where the film let me down.
To start things off positively, I really dug the way the film took its time to get to the meat of the story. By taking its time the film managed to build a nice level of suspense. Characterization didn’t really occur, but that was fine by me as You’re Next never came across as a film that concerned with character. This film is a mood piece, an attempt to create a tense atmosphere and then keep the tension running when the shit hits the fan. The tension and suspense does help to hide the stupidity of most of the characters. It matters not if it’s smart for a character to run out the front door. What matters is the build to her running, and the release that is given to the viewer as soon as she hits the doorway.
I also found You’re Next quite comedic, and in unexpected ways to boot. One of my all time favorite moments in a horror movie has to be when the brothers- Felix, Crispian, and Drake- keep arguing and egging each other on even as they are being initially attacked. This family is so messed up that not even a death and arrows flying through the air can stop them from taking digs at one another. You’re Next doesn’t hit its humor element hard, but when it does decide to be funny it manages to be quite funny.
Unfortunately it’s the predictability of the narrative that lets the positive elements of the film down the most. The film shows us in detail what happens to one character who trues to run away outside. When a second character does the same thing and the film forgets about said character it’s all too obvious that this character is in on the killings. The same holds true for a reveal that happens with two other characters. Their presence is handled so that there’s very little doubt to their true nature and when they finally reveal said nature it’s obvious in a way that hurts the film greatly.
You’re Next did receive plenty of hype from the online film community. I’m not going to say the hype was unwarranted because there is a good movie at the core of Mr. Wingard’s film. However, You’re Next is a film that falls short from reaching the top of its own hype mountain. The tense atmosphere and early suspense combine with some inventive kills to make the film a worthwhile watch. The script is too eager to be obvious though, and that’s why You’re Next never comes close to being the great horror movie it was pegged as.