You’re Next (2011) Review (Yeah – the current horror film)

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You’re Next (2011?? What? Apparently so… Looks like it spent a couple years at film festivals first)

Directed by Adam Wingard

Starring:
Sharni Vinson
Nicholas Tucci
Wendy Glenn
A. J. Bowen
Joe Swanberg
Barbara Crampton
Rob Moran
Ti West

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis:

The Davison family gathers at a remote house in the woods (as you do) to celebrate the 35th wedding anniversary of their parents. While celebrating, the family is attacked by a gang of masked invaders.

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My Opinion:

It’s been too long since I’ve gone to a movie (like, a month!). After spending the past couple of days catching up on reading all the blogs here, I read loads of extremely positive reviews for You’re Next (plus one blogger who hated it). So, even though I’m not really a modern horror fan and a massive wuss about gore, I said what the hell as it’s only 95 minutes long and went to it.

Now, I’m just back from this and still trying to collect my thoughts but figure I should get this review out there quick otherwise I’ll never get around to it. Normally I like to think about the film for a day or two. I’m not entirely sure yet how I feel about it. I think there are some good things about it but I was disappointed that there wasn’t even more dark humor than there actually was – from the reviews I read I thought there’d be a little more of that. What there was, I enjoyed (especially at the end).

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I liked that there’s a strong female lead. I get bored with women in horror movies seeming to only be there to flash their tits and then die horribly. I suppose I liked some of the more “inventive” deaths but, not being a fan of gore or slasher flicks (other than the cheesy 70s & 80s ones), it was a bit hard to watch. And I didn’t exactly watch the screen the whole time! So… I suppose I’m not actually the best judge on just HOW gory it got. Certainly sounded rather, um… Juicy at times! Okay – I think it’ll be easier to just break this one down into what I liked and didn’t like so much…

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What I liked:

– Like I said, a strong female lead who isn’t just there to show us her boobs.

– Some inventive deaths although really too violent for this wuss.

– Barbara Crampton played the mom. And she’s aged really well. The chick from Re-Animator! And Chopping Mall, which I love but shouldn’t. That kind of horror is more my speed… And, um, The Young & The Restless! I used to watch it when I lived in America, okay?! So sue me. :-p

– The animal masks were pretty cool.

– The dark humor but I wished there’d been more .

– The fact that the guy who directed a movie I just happened to watch two nights ago (Ti West – The Innkeepers) is actually in this. (I love IMDB). FYI: I preferred The Innkeepers to this.

– The length. Maybe bad for a film-lover to admit but I think horrors & comedies don’t need to be much more than an hour and a half long.

– The music at the end. It was a bit… I don’t know. Reminded me of The Thing with a little bit of Dawn of the Dead? I know too little about movie music to continue this discussion – just thought it worked well at the end of the film.

– The second half. I thought it started out quite slow and took a fairly long time to get interesting. But it really picked up speed about halfway through.

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What I Didn’t Like So Much:

– Too violent.

– Not enough of the dark humor – more would have made this one better. I’m not talking Tucker And Dale Vs Evil levels of humor (I loved that one – and it gives me a chance to link to a review of mine, I guess! Review HERE). But there’s so little that it almost felt out of place.

– Felt a little pointless (PART 1). We’ve seen home invasion movies a lot and others have done it better. It felt like a pretty standard home invasion flick but with more gore. It will be and probably has been compared to The Strangers, which I thought was better in terms of suspense & creepiness. Also think I preferred the film Ils (Them). And (I’m going to get in big trouble for this one and have a bunch of you horror fans yelling at me) I liked The Purge better than You’re Next (I won’t go into full detail on that now – my review is HERE if you’re bothered). The Purge at least had a great concept even though it wasn’t as well executed as it could have been. You’re Next has an extremely simple concept we’ve already seen many times but its execution was better than that of The Purge. So I guess it depends on what you prefer from a film…

– Felt a little pointless (PART 2). As far as the violence… I don’t always get as into violent films like these when the people don’t seem THAT horrible but we have to watch them die in awful ways. Other bloggers have said the family is unlikeable so it’s fun watching them die but, aside from a brother who comes across as a prick, they don’t really seem deserving of the excessive violence. But that’s probably just me – I’m not a fan of all the torture porn that’s around these days. You’re Next doesn’t fall into that category but the violence feels a little unnecessary at times. Or… Pointless. Not that every film (and certainly not every horror film) NEEDS to have a point. But… I don’t know what I’m trying to say so I’ll sum this up now.

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Summary:

You’re Next is a pretty standard home invasion flick but with more gore, a couple inventive deaths, and a sprinkle of dark humor. Horror fans who love the more violent films of the genre will like this one. Luckily a strong female lead helps make up for some of the film’s weaknesses and the final half of the film is much stronger than what I thought was a pretty slow start. Overall I don’t think it’s a bad film – it’s a decent enough film for its genre but doesn’t feel as fresh & original as I was kind of expecting from the many reviews that I’d read. Maybe I’m just too picky these days?

My Rating: 6/10

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**I suppose I’ve not even mentioned the other horror film that’s received lots of praise this year too – The Conjuring. Much more my type of horror and I feel it’s more worthy of the praise it received. Review HERE.

The Purge (2013) Review

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The Purge

Directed by James DeMonaco

Starring:

Ethan Hawke
Lena Headey
Max Burkholder
Adelaide Kane
Edwin Hodge
Rhys Wakefield
Tony Oller
Arija Bareikis

Plot Synopsis:

In 2022 America, all crime is legal for one night of every year. Unemployment & the crime rate are at an all time low thanks to this annual 12-hour period, known as The Purge, when people are allowed the opportunity to get out all their aggressions.

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My Opinion:

First of all, it actually wasn’t until looking for the images to use in this review that I saw the poster saying “from the producer of Paranormal Activity & Sinister”. I’m glad I didn’t know that beforehand because I’d have skipped The Purge. Luckily, it’s better than those. Paranormal Activity was… Meh. Sinister actually started out very promising and I found it pretty creepy at first but then it got extremely stupid & left me very pissed off. The Purge has the same eerie feel & tension that the start of Sinister has but manages to maintain that throughout the whole film.

I enjoyed this movie more than I was expecting. It’s kind of a weird one, though – it’s somewhere in between “suspenseful thriller” (like Panic Room but nowhere near as good) and “horror” (like The Strangers – it felt VERY similar to this movie). I can see people not liking The Purge if they’re expecting it to fit nicely into just one of those two categories. It’s actually considered “science fiction”, however – I guess as it takes place in a dystopian future? It just doesn’t feel like “the future” as it’s only nine years from now so I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel like science fiction. (Did you notice how I used the word “dystopian” there? Look at me using big words & stuff!). πŸ™‚

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I’m not sure what to say now. I’m not entirely sure why I liked this film. I went to it only because I heard what it was about and really liked the concept. With so many sequels and remakes and the rehashing of the same old stories over and over again these days, it was great to hear about a movie plot that felt like a fresh new idea (although I’m sure it’s been done somewhere?). All crime legal for one night- It’s a great concept for a film! Very simple yet with SO many possibilities. There were so many ways this movie could have played out. Is it as good as its concept? No, unfortunately not. It tries to demonstrate the (obvious) moral implications involved in people going around and doing any horrible thing they desire for one night each year. But it never really manages to be “deep”. The Purge feels like a wasted opportunity – a high concept that’s not explored in depth. However, I did still enjoy it. I mean, it’s only 85 minutes and it’s from the producer of Paranormal Activity & Sinister – you’re not going to get something too deep & meaningful. As long as you don’t go to it expecting that, you might enjoy it. It’s a popcorn movie that happens to have good original concept. I think this is one of those that’s easier to discuss by breaking it down into the “good” and “not so good” bits.

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The Good:

– The concept

– The moral implications involved in a night of purging (although only touched on a little bit in this film)

– The creepy masks & the “baddies”. I’m not going to go into the plot too much as I try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible. The trailer gives away a lot more about this movie so I can say the story centers on one family (Ethan Hawke & Lena Headey and their son & daughter) in their secured home on the night of The Purge and the people who are trying to enter their house. The masks were creepy. There’s just something about faceless strangers committing acts of evil – I find that frightening. Yes, it’s VERY similar to The Strangers, which I liked but I know not everyone did. If you liked that, you might like The Purge.

– The doll’s head. It’s creepy. What’s creepier than people in masks? Freaking DOLLS.

– The “haves” vs the “have nots”. Naturally, in a future where a night of legalized crime exists, it’s those who have the money to arm themselves and secure their homes who have the least to worry about. Again, though, this is something that could have been explored more fully but I thought they did a decent enough job of getting this point across in 85 minutes.

– The suspense. It’s pretty good through the whole film. Things are always pretty tense.

– The boy looked like Skrillex. Especially when wearing his glasses. (Can’t find a picture with the glasses).

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The Not So Good:

– A great concept not explored in depth

– A few things were WAY too obvious and predictable. But I can’t discuss them without spoilers.

– The daughter is unnecessarily in her school uniform (with the shortest school uniform skirt EVER) the entire time. (And the male readers are now wondering why this is listed under “not so good”. Lol). Because, like the underwear scene in Into Darkness, it doesn’t make sense. There’s no reason for it.

– The characters of the central family & their neighbors. They just came across as very “sheltered” from the realities of the nights of The Purge (other than the son who actually questions things a little). I know the point is that they’re rich so they don’t have to worry about it. It’s not their “problem”. But this is only nine years from now. It just seems a bit weird that The Purge has been so readily accepted as a necessary thing. It just didn’t feel QUITE like how people would actually behave if this was reality. (But the scary thing is that I may be wrong). I think this movie probably would have worked a bit better set a little further into the future.

– The genre.The feeling that the movie doesn’t quite know where it “fits”. Thriller? Horror? Science fiction? I just feel like, in the right hands, this concept could have been turned into an absolutely brilliant film. It makes me wish the central idea could be reused and turned into a suspenseful thriller that also explores all the moral issues. Done by David Fincher? I think he could make something great out of this. Christopher Nolan? Heck… Maybe even Lars Von Trier – he’d make something interesting out of this concept. (Look at me trying to sound like a smart film person – I think I’ve only ever seen one Lars Von Trier film. Lol!). Cronenberg might be a good one too… Oh, he’d make an awesome movie out of this. Dammit – I want someone to completely remake this now!

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Summary:

The Purge is a movie with an excellent concept that’s never fully explored in depth. It feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity but is still enjoyable enough as a simple 85 minute popcorn flick. There are moments that are actually pretty tense & frightening and I stayed gripped until the end. It doesn’t quite know which genre it’s aiming for or maybe even what kind of an audience it’s aiming for, though. Some will like it, some will hate it. I enjoyed it quite a bit even though I was a little disappointed when thinking about how great the movie COULD have been in different hands. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone but I would if I thought it was someone’s sort of thing. But I’d definitely recommend going to it with an open mind and not expecting to learn anything deep and meaningful about the human condition that we don’t all already know.

My Rating: 7.5/10

**Rating upped after watching the final film, The Purge: Election Year, as I think this is a very solid trilogy & the first two films have gone up even more in my estimation.

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