Long wait for best of this scream fest
Improves as its cast dies, writes
You’re Next. NASTY little slasher film that starts poorly, You’re Next gets better once most of the cast has been butchered.
The thriller, the object of a bidding war made the rounds of film festivals, sat on the shelf for a while and finally opens in Australia today.
You’re Next stars indie film figures Joe Swanberg and Ti West as two attendees at a party where four siblings and their significant others are celebrating their parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.
Most tolerable among this largely annoying crew are Crispian (AJ Bowen), a college professor, and his Australian girlfriend Erin (Australian actress Sharni Vinson), but that’s not paying the two very high praise.
The irritation factor grows substantially after the first slaying at this remote Tudor mansion, when half the female cast seems to be competing to shriek the longest.
An unknown number of men, wearing animal masks and wielding crossbows (why not guns?), are stalking the family from without and within the house; since director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett have given themselves so many characters to kill, they start off with a few quick killings in which the victims are behaving so stupidly they’re practically asking to die.
Most frustrating during the film’s first half is that only one among the 10 characters, Erin, has anything approaching a self-preservation instinct. While others scream or stand around dumbly, she hustles off to lock windows and gather weapons.
While the mask-wearing villains have a hard time delivering the kind of novel slayings horror fans demand, Vinson (whose bloodcurdling screams recall those from Jamie Lee Curtis in 1978’s Halloween) musters the ferocity to compensate – the moment she meat-tenderises an attacker’s skull, the movie starts to turn fun.
In the absence of sympathetic characters, a little humour would have gone a long way but aside from a near-miss sex scene in a bed shared by a corpse, there’s none on hand.
Only when the reasons for the attack become clear does the film find its feet, but You’re Next ends on a high-enough note that buzz on the way out of the cinema should work in its favour.
You’re Next opens today.
Australian actress Sharni Vinson stars in nasty little American slasher film