A window gracefully shatters into a thousand fragments as the face of a lion slowly emerges. The window's shrapnel-like flecks glint and topple off of the animal's apathetic features. In one of its hands is that of a gore-stained axe; the other possesses what remains of your friend. It casually turns to observe you before lifting the weapon for attack--dropping the body in the process. Heavy breathing emanates from under the plaster disguise; the eyes are but black, vacant slits. It charges. What do you do? Well, if this were any other horror movie, you'd most likely roll over and die. But this ain't your pappy's homage to the genre, this is an entirely new beast altogether. And it's got some tricks up its sleeves. Truth be told, I've been waiting for this film to arrive on silver screens ever since I first missed the opportunity two years ago during its premier at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX. While I expected another opportunity to arise, I didn't take into account one thing: You're Next never acquired distribution. And now, two years later, a big enough studio by the name of ol' Lionsgate finally invested and has gifted filmgoers with a quality horror film. Y'know, because when you're an insanely profitable studio that pumps out hundreds of sh*tty movies, sometimes - just sometimes - you manage to make the right decision and release a worthwhile one. With that 'lil ditty of background established, I can safely say that no on has been looking more forward to this home-invasion masterpiece than me. Yes, that's a hell of a lot of hubris, but like the aforementioned Hollywood studio, I'm allowed it once in a while. As I prepared for the inevitable release, my fanaticism also propelled me to a nearby abattoir of all things horror where I met the film's lead actress Sharni Vinson who signed some memorabilia (like a creepy fox-mask, thank you very much) and assured me of her film's grooviness. So yeah, I'm a fan of the filmmakers involved, I dug meeting Ms. Vinson (she's a peach, she is!) and I've been waiting for two-and-a-half years. It's fair to say that I had a lot of expectation going into this whole animalistic shebang. And for once, such expectation paid off greatly. During the 30th anniversary of their parent's marriage, a family of bickering siblings are besieged by a troika of animal-masked psychopaths. Enough said. What separates You're Next from the rest of the dime-a-dozen pack is that applies a welcome dose of smarts to the proceedings. Unlike, say Trespass or the sh*t-storm of ineptitude that was The Purge, You're Next doesn't handicap its protagonists with stupidity an - beyond one or two moments very early on - will keep the audience from being able to caterwaul, "Stupid! Why would you do that!?" In fact, the lead protagonist handles her situation so well that nearly all of her moments of heroism had the theatre cheering. And no, it wasn't simply because an evildoer was being swiftly given their comeuppance, it was the creative - and more importantly logical -method in which she dealt with her attackers. She earned her accolades. This isn't some damsel in distress narrative - it's a believably brutal foray into pure, primal survival. Because the filmmakers herein are actual students of the horror genre (say, unlike The Purge's writer/director) they understand the bloody canon and what viewer's expect from it. Thus, writer Simon Barrett (who also plays Tiger Mask) and director Adam Wingard (V/H/S 1 and 2; A Horrible Way to Die) play to those expectations by deviating from the norm. Logical means to escape are made (like a fantastically daring window-leap), viciously satisfying violence is brought about by quick-witted improvisation (even a little home improvement) and the storyline even delivers in ways I wasn't expecting. It's an amalgamation of ingenuity, merciless carnage, and cathartic enjoyment--three things which have been utterly lacking in nearly every film released this year. Click "next" to continue reading...
Greetings from The Yentz! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla!
I live, eat and breathe film... And videogames... And comics... And, well... Anything that might be considered "nerd related".
I consider myself the voice against that of mainstream cinema. While critics might praise the ostentatious drivel supplied by Oscar-pandering films, I enjoy directing attention to less popular gems in hopes of educating people on incredible film experiences that may not be backed by massive studios, nominations and a star-studded cast.
Outside of WhatCulture!, I write for Movieweb, assisted BlueCat as a script analyst, have worked on films from the east coast to the west and continue to write, critique and direct here in the lovable land of ol' LA.
I hope you enjoy reading my diatribes as much as I enjoy writing them.