Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Sarah Myers, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Rob Moran, Barbara Crampton, Kate Lyn Sheil, Larry Fessenden
Written by: Simon Barrett
Directed by: Adam Wingard
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Running Time: 95
Date: 08/23/2013

You're Next (2013)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Mask Force

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The reason You're Next has been generating such buzz in horror circles is that director Adam Wingard is clearly a fan, which is not always the case in a genre that often inspires lazy, disdainful copies. Many of the cast members are either genre filmmakers (Larry Fessenden, Joe Swanberg, Ti West), or horror icons (Barbara Crampton, from Re-Animator). However, outside of this assembling of like minds, not many actual ideas are generated, except for the concept of the female warrior; often women are victimized in "home invasion" movies like this one. The rest is just the typical "ten little Indians" scheme with attempts at heightened gore.

After a couple down the road are slain, we move onto the next house, where Paul (Rob Moran) and Aubrey Davison (Crampton) are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, with their grown children -- and significant others -- in attendance. Writer Crispian (AJ Bowen) comes with his Australian girlfriend, Erin (Sharni Vinson). Two more brothers and a sister, plus partners, also arrive, making the party ten in total. The family sits down to dinner, starts arguing, and finds their arguing interrupted by intruders in animal masks. They start killing the family members one by one, except that one woman begins to fight back, throwing a serious monkey wrench in their plans. Much bloody carnage later, who will be left standing?

Wingard does not seem to concentrate much on storytelling. The story's red herrings stick out just a bit too far, calling attention to themselves. It's possible that the movie was meant to be funny, but he's a chronic camera-shaker, and the movie's amateurish look makes it hard to tell. Ultimately, many of the movie's ideas just don't make sense. No amount of enthusiasm can make this movie better than it actually is. The one high point is Sharni Vinson, who nearly makes up for it all.

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