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Movie Review: ‘You’re Next’ unoriginal and uninteresting

Hollywood could learn a thing or two from horror cinema. Give each other enough space and everyone can make money. Of course, the tendency towards low budgets doesn’t hurt much either. Adam Wingard’s “You’re Next” looks to take advantage of a relatively quiet August by offering some gory thrills. It forgoes originality and high concept and, unfortunately, takes a little too long to get off the ground.

Stop if you’ve heard the before. A dysfunctional family decides to have a reunion on the parent’s anniversary. Obviously, this has to happen at the dad’s pet project retirement home in the middle of nowhere. Brothers fight, mom cries, and killers in animal masks show up to terrorize them for reasons that you probably already know.

If that sounds dull or irritating, it is, at least for the first half. There isn’t much positive to say about the writing or acting. The story’s generic and dialogue is equally bad both in script and performance. Unlikeable characters would be much easier to forgive if we didn’t spend so much time with them before anything interesting happens. It’s not until most of them are axed that this film really manages to find its center in the best way possible. The second half of “You’re Next” is the kind of trashy, b-grade horror flick that is a blast to watch, especially with a large group of people.

The cast will be familiar to those who are a bit more indie-centric. Ti West, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, AJ Bowen and Barbara Crampton all show up for varying amounts of time. They work with what they have, but it is very clear that some of them are directors, not actors. Sharni Vinson as survivalist-Lara-Croft is the definite stand out. That’s not a typo. The last 40 minutes may as well be her audition tape for a new Tomb Raider film. She carries “You’re Next” to a level far beyond what even seemed possible.

Wonderfully violent, darkly comic, and even a bit frightening, it’s a shame that it takes so long to earn those compliments. If it had been so strong throughout, it would be joining the ranks of this year’s “Evil Dead” and “The Conjuring.”

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