You’re Next Review – Horror’s Hopes of Revival
One of the film industry’s worst trends has nothing to do with CGI, pointy-tooth heartthrobs, nor anything actually happening in the movies themselves.
Believe or not, it is the audience that is continually ruining the cinematic experience for themselves. This bizarre, self-annihilating mentality is driving a generation of paying patrons towards a distressing inability to achieve one of film’s most basic rules -a suspension of disbelief. This is most certainly true for many genres of movies, but since its former ghoulish glory, the horror genre has long been victim to smart remarks and baffled audiences.
Horror’s latest cinematic offering comes from underground horror native Adam Wingard, a seasoned short film veteran who debuts his first national release,You’re Next. Upon the release of its trailer, I grew in unhealthy anticipation for a genuinely frightening film, comprised of a large score of familiar faces from one of the most heatedly debated contemporary horror films in recent memory, V/H/S. Being a fan of the semi-experimental, episodic blood bath, I felt certain that You’re Next would deliver the goods with ease. Despite my enthusiasm, it seemed most movie freaks I asked about You’re Next, were not only uninterested in the film, but also felt as though it would fall immanently into the already overflowing bin of cliches. It seemed as though horror heads had a heaping portion of the home invasion sub genre while struggling the wash the putrid taste of Bryan Bertino’s mediocre 2008 debut, The Strangers.
Through pure, unadulterated laziness, the majority of these associations come from seeing these films because of the trailer’s initial pitch. Both You’re Next and The Strangers montages’ place masked people disrupting the happenings of an all too normal domestic setting and methodically cut down its inhabitants. This instantly-gratifying synopsis makes a historically uneasy genre seem a little more sensible and digestible. Here lies a genre-specific problem for any film that chooses to wear the colors of a horror movie. Because within a horror movie – especially a good one – it is often the mysterious and unknown that reveals our fears of powerlessness and absurdity. Common complaints for this often rely heavily on the audience triumphing over that fear, thus defeating a confrontation of the unexplainable and surreal.
“Why did he go upstairs?”
“Why didn’t he just call the police?”
“Why did they have sex on the sacred book?”
BECAUSE THEY HAD TO START THE HORROR MOVIE, THAT’S WHY.
The horror genre is supported by an almighty crux of poor decision making, followed by an exhausting attempt to reclaim the damage dealt. When you sign up for an experience such as a horror movie, the genre demands that you abandon any survival tips you may feel so inclined to shout from the safety of a dimly light theater.
You’re Next starts off with an ultra-unflattering sex scene that leaves a young college student unsatisfied and used. She strolls sexily into a luxurious living space only to blast out any remaining thoughts of what she had just endured with an alcoholic beverage and a CD cranked to eleven. This hints toward memories of the scantily clad scream queens of horror’s glory years, but Wingard carefully tears away the “boob draw” that may antagonize unwanted arousal. This, for me, was an early indication of progression for a genre that notoriously embeds its female characters as vessels of pleasure.
This fairly contemporary female depiction continues with the inclusion of an unexpectedly prepared girlfriend, as she lays down the law in coordination with an impressive set of survival skills. What an audience is reliant on is the unfortunately powerless horror troupe; the once weak warrior. This character is easy to point out and with usually find herself at the center of the action, rising to the occasion to defeat evil and her own physical/metal limitations. Without trying to give too much away, Adam Wingard succeeds once again in dismantling the expectations of a supremely jaded public.
Ultimately, horror films have become almost exclusively for the loyal supporters of the genre and perhaps, as a follower myself, the argument for cinematic subjection is a difficult position to preach. But, to the best of my knowledge, I think horror and especially fresh frights like You’re Next will continue to be cast off as played out and predictable. Wingard himself highlights how unwilling and numb his audience may have already become with the character of Tariq, played masterfully by fellow horror genre hero Ti West. This inside joke of sorts plays so naturally that I actually felt an immense sense of comradery between the filmmaker and spectator. Perhaps this is where the satisfaction will stay, around the table that horror built, inviting only individuals who are truly hungry. So I ask, to those who are willing, suspend your disbelief with You’re Next and give genuine horror filmmaking a chance again.
[schema type=”review” name=”You’re Next | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: Respects genre staples while improving on some of their faults, V/H/S cast reunion, Amazing soundtrack, Satisfying kills and multi-demential villains | The Not So Awesome: Boring trailer, Exclusive intrigue for fans of slasher films” rev_name=”You’re Next” rev_body=”Adam Wingard’s debut’s a ultra-satisfying slasher, that provides some brain matter for fans of body count classics. Possessing the charm of progressive underground horror and the finesse of Hollywood’s tightest fright flicks, Wingard demolishes the tried and true approach of the weak and surprising scream queen, instead, favoring a strong and determined warrior. This film has the potential, if the audience is willing and able, to convince a generation of snotty film patrons to get scared of the their own home all over again. ” author=”Spencer Churchill” pubdate=”2013-09-06″ user_review=”9″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]
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