You’re Next (2011)

You're Next (2011) 95min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 28 August 2013 (UK) Summary: When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.
Countries: USA, UKLanguages: English

This movie seems to set out to try and combine a schlock horror slasher kind of set up with a ‘tough woman fights back’ theme, and doesn’t do either of them nearly as much credit as either of them might deserve.

Here’s the premise: a big family get together starts to go wrong when one of them is shot by a crossbow bolt from outside the house during dinner. Phones don’t work and it becomes obvious that they are trapped in the house by mysterious assailants. Except there’s a twist: one of the future daughter-in-laws has a secret past, that has prepared her more than any of them for a day like this.

There were two things that could have been better in this movie for me.

The first was that the family is big and the happenings start happening really quite soon into the movie. We don’t really learn to like any of the family before they start getting cut down one by one. It may as well be another Final Destination full of people whose name it is pointless trying to remember. Because the movie shows ‘the monster’ from the first sequence (that is, in this case, home invasion killers) it’s obvious what is going to happen to this family. So even if the movie had have tried to make me care, it’s blown its wad already. I don’t have the emotional energy to invest in their characters.

The lead character doesn’t have anything much to set her apart from the others until the killing starts. We don’t really follow her, or learn to like her more than the others, until this happens. And after she starts being eerily capable, it then takes ages until she reveals why. So we spend a whole bunch of time not being sure who we’re rooting for to survive, and then some more time not knowing if we can even trust the person we’re rooting to survive… or is she just a killer like the ‘bad’ people are?

And as it turns out (and this is the second thing that could have been better for me) we can’t trust her. We can trust her nearly all the way to the end and then there are a series of decisions that mean she doesn’t come out the hero. Or does she? Is she still better than ‘them’, or does she become a ‘dark hero’? Has the movie given her character quite enough to be that ‘dark hero’? I’m not sure it has.

Otherwise it was quite watchable.

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