Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'You're Next' review: Thanks but no thanks

**1/2 (out of four)

I arrive home from the screening of “You’re Next” and see the headline, “Cops: ‘Bored’ teen hunted kittens with bow and arrows.” Jeez. As if I didn’t already feel uneasy enough about the gratuitous use of crossbows in this horror-comedy, whose murderers’ killing methods are needlessly messy considering their motive.

Semi-related note: The crossbow accident in “The Five-Year Engagement” wasn’t funny either.

Obviously, Paul (Rob Moran), his wife, Aubrey (Barbara Crampton), their four kids (including Chicago-based “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg) and their significant others (including Sharni Vinson of “Step Up 3D” and “Drinking Buddies” co-star Ti West) have no idea why their large, isolated home has been overrun by people in animal masks. They just know the dinner table squabble stemming from decades-old sibling rivalry doesn’t seem as significant once someone has an arrow sticking out of his back.

That Paul worked in defense but can’t protect his home recalls this year’s surprise hit “The Purge.” Most home-invasion thrillers feel similar, of course, and director Adam Wingard (“V/H/S”) aims to separate the moderately creepy “You’re Next” from efforts like the great “Funny Games” and decent “The Strangers” with a knowing wink at everyone’s fallibility. The film suggests audiences assume no one has any self-defense abilities, and that those trained in that sort of thing are out of control. Say this for “You’re Next”: Unlike a lot of horror movies, when it’s funny, it’s funny on purpose. Drake (Swanberg) claims, “I don’t think I know any filmmakers,” an in-joke for anyone who knows that “You’re Next” is filled with filmmakers including West (“The Innkeepers”), Amy Seimetz and the guy delivering the line.

Overall, though, these are thin excuses to trot out the usual sequences of maniacs busting through windows and gleeful deaths (like one dude swinging an ax into someone’s head) that add layers of bloodlust-fueling cruelty the film’s premise doesn’t support. Just because some characters are supposed to look stupid doesn’t mean the film itself should crumble under the mildest scrutiny.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Video/Q&A: 'Drinking Buddies' director Joe Swanberg

    Video/Q&A: 'Drinking Buddies' director Joe Swanberg

    “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg has been making feature films professionally (eight years) for about twice as long as he has been brewing craft beer at home for fun. Yet to an extent, the Lincoln Square resident follows the same approach with both: pursuing personal explorations and being...

  • No fixes in sight for state budget, CPS pension payment

    No fixes in sight for state budget, CPS pension payment

    Facing a day of multiple deadlines, Illinois lawmakers return to the Capitol on Tuesday little closer to coming up with a new state budget or helping Chicago Public Schools deal with a deadline for a massive pension payment.

  • Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Donald Trump says cops should be tougher on Chicago crime

    Businessman Donald Trump brought his nascent bid for the Republican presidential nomination to town Monday, warning that crime in Chicago is "out of control" and hurting the city's image worldwide.

  • South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    South Carolina church shooting shines spotlight on media treatment of white, black suspects

    I have been to the Grammy Awards. I have had features written about my music in Billboard, XXL, Jet and other magazines I've always loved. Oprah Winfrey told me to my face that she loves my dreads and purple eyebrows. My music is played on TV shows and movies, and I write about my opinionated views...

  • 'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    'Magic Mike XXL' is the summer's best sequel so far

    2012’s “Magic Mike” and its sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” could have been so stupid, and I’m sure those who haven’t seen either one assume that they are. I mean, think of how cheesy a movie about male strippers could be. Based on the commercials, they barely seem like movies at all—just two-hour thrust-athons...

  • Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples' sprawling double album 'Summertime '06' is relentlessly gritty

    Vince Staples deals in pessimism, for good reason. The Long Beach rapper has seen a lot of violence and despair in his 21 years. He'll tell you about it too, in unflinching clarity that few artists his age possess. There’s little if any hope in his music. Yet even with the darkness oozing out of...

  • RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's favorite songs of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything, from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

  • RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    RedEye's 25 favorite albums of 2015 (so far)

    As we reach 2015's midpoint, it's clear that the year in music has been incredible, with a little bit of everything from classic soul, rap, emo, '70s funk, grunge and scorching Southern rock to searing punk, bubblegum pop and jazz fusion. In particular, Kendrick Lamar's rap-funk masterpiece "To...

Comments
Loading