Genre: Horror/Slasher
Premise: (from imdb) When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.
About: This film has taken a strange journey. It actually debuted at a film festival over TWO YEARS AGO. Everyone at the festival loved it, getting the indie horror scene all goosed up to see the film. But then it just sat, and sat, and sat. Why? I have no idea. Maybe the producers believed they had something better than what they were being offered. It more recently played at SXSW, repeated the hype there, and Lionsgate finally picked it up. The studio that brought us “Saw” saw another bloody horror opportunity, and released the film this weekend. It didn’t really light up the scene (it had no stars to sell it) bringing in about 7 million bucks, but neither did any of the other opening films (which all made less than 10 mil). And this modestly budgeted (2 million budget I’m guessing?) film will definitely make a nice profit. Director Adam Wingard is best known for directing the “wraparound” storyline for VHS. In an unrelated story, director-actor Joe Swanberg, who starred in the film as “guy who gets arrow stuck in his back,” also released his directing effort, “Drinking Buddies,” this weekend, meaning he had the unfortunate job of competing against himself!
Writer: Simon Barrett
Details: 94 minutes

youre-next-sharni-vinson-2

Let’s have a discussion, shall we?

So a couple of weeks ago, I downloaded this movie on iTunes called “Would You Rather.” It was a contained horror film that (as far as I know) was never released in theaters. It starred Brittany Snow in a story about a young woman, who, in order to save her dying brother, agrees to participate in a contest at a mysterious rich gentleman’s home. That “contest” ends up being a life-or-death game of “Would You Rather.”

How was it? Pretty silly. Not terrible but not good either.

Flash-forward to this weekend, where I went out to see You’re Next, another contained horror film with no stars that takes place in a wealthy person’s home. And here’s where I begin the discussion. How is it, that of these two movies, one gets a wide release on 2000 screens, and the other goes straight to digital? Because to me, you have two very similar films, both with “Fresh” Rotten Tomato scores. So I don’t understand what makes one theater-worthy and the other not.

I ask this question because a movie that plays in theaters will always make more than a movie played digitally. So producers are, obviously, going to look for scripts that they can put up on the big screen. And with horror being such a popular genre, I want to know the answer to that so that you, the writers, can exploit it and get your script on the big screen.

You’re Next follows a family getting together for dinner at their well-off parents’ house located in the middle of nowhere. All three brothers and one sister bring along their significant others. The main couple is Crispian and Erin. Crispian is sort of an uptight young professor type. And Erin is more of a relaxed “go with the flow” kind of gal. Besides them we have Felix (Black Sheep Brother), Drake (Funny Brother) and Aimee (People Pleaser Sister).

The family isn’t any more dysfunctional than any other family of this make-up would be, but there appears to be some animosity between Drake and Crispian, as Drake believes Crispian’s more interested in banging his students (as Erin used to be) than actually doing something with his life. Whatever the case, everyone lives under the shadow of the mother and father, who are wildly successful. This adds a layer of tension to most of the interactions in the script.

So anyway, dinner begins, and after an argument breaks out, an arrow comes flying through the window, hitting and killing poor Aimee’s date. A group freak-out begins, until the family realizes that the arrows are still coming. As others get hit (like Drake, who hilariously walks around with an arrow in his back for half the movie), they’re eventually able to escape to the safety of the master hallway.

What follows is equal parts “what the fuck is going on” and “we’re all gonna die,” but there’s one person who seems impossibly calm during the ordeal – Erin. As we’ll find out later, Erin grew up on a survivalist compound, so she knows a few things about protecting herself. After wrapping Drake’s wound, she gives instructions to everyone on what their best chance for survival is. Pretty soon the family is blocking doors, locking windows and setting traps.

But the hopeful vibes don’t last long. Not only does the killer get in the house, but it turns out another of the killers has been in the house ALREADY. Like, for days. This thing apparently had been planned out extensively. The question is, what is the plan? Why are they doing this? And who’s involved? As the family members die one-by-one, Erin’s killer instincts allow her to put together the pieces, until she realizes the unfathomable truth.

would-you-rather-trailer-per-l-horror-con-brittany-snow(Would You Rather)

This movie is about as well made as a movie of this type can be. Sure it was cheesy at times. Sure there was some bad on-the-nose dialogue in places (since when does a conversation start: “So your parents are, like, really rich right?”). But it got right what it needed to get right, starting with the main character. Erin was ACTIVE! And I bring this up because it’s the biggest difference between this film and Would You Rather. Brittany Snow, in that film, does just enough to get us into the house (and therefore, the meat of the movie) and then simply disappears on-screen. She doesn’t do a thing except for watch everyone die for the rest of the film! And this is our main character!

You’re Next’s Erin takes charge, gives everyone shit to do, puts together traps, outsmarts the villains, kills the villains – SHE’S A HERO. And I know we’ve discussed this plenty of times before, but the extreme contrast between Erin’s “go-get-em” attitude and Britney’s “sit and stay quiet” approach made a HUGE difference in how much we a) rooted for the hero and b) by association CARED about what happened.

And, in general, You’re Next spent a lot more time setting up its characters before they started getting killed. We see everyone come in, get to know a little about them, about their significant other, about the relationship dynamics between them and the rest of the family members, then the dinner scene comes, AND ONLY THEN does the killing start.

In Would You Rather, we start out getting to know Brittany Snow and her dying brother – so there IS some character setup – but we don’t know ANY of the other characters at the house. Britney shows up, receives a couple of expositional setup lines about each person, then the game starts. Since we didn’t know any of these people, why should we care? That was another huge difference between the two movies. And the craziest thing was that the one person we DID know becomes a virtual mute. So not only do we not know anyone else, but we’re bored by the one person we do know!

Now what does this mean for our original question? What is it that makes one movie a theatrical release and another a homeatrical release? I might be a little biased here being Scriptshadow and all but I’m going to say THE SCRIPT. The script (nice character set up, strong active fun main character, clever twists and turns) is what allowed them to make something more than a typical slasher movie. People loved it at the festivals, which gave a studio the confidence that they could release it theatrically. Would You Rather’s script didn’t have nearly the energy or character development that You’re Next had.

Are there other things involved? Sure, probably. The ease in which one can market masks in a horror film probably helped. And this movie had a lot more MOVEMENT than Would You Rather. We’re jumping around from room to room, experiencing a lot of intense kills. That’s way more theatrical than the static deaths that happened in Would You Rather (most of the film takes place in a single room). But those are script decisions as well.

So in my opinion, as I’ve always contended: write a good script, good things will happen!

[ ] what the hell did I just see?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[xx] worth the price of admission
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: This so so SO reminded me of the importance of an active main character. You don’t realize how important they are until you watch two movies back to back, one without an active character, the other with one. We love people who take charge, who do things, who fight back, who come up with ideas, who cleverly outwit their opponents. These active people always feel like heroes to us. That was Erin here.

  • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

    I just saw “You’re Next” today. It’s funny because I was thinking about “Would You Rather” a lot of the time, which i saw a few weeks ago. The latter was okay, with a great performance from Jeffrey Combs, but ended up falling apart throughout, with a terrible ending.

    “You’re Next” I’ve been anticipating. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t the genre-bending masterpiece I was led to believe it was, but I greatly enjoyed it, and certainly do not regret paying to see it.

    The best parts: 1) it combined horror and comedy, which I love almost more than anything else, 2) rather than having helpless victims run around (like, let’s say, THE STRANGERS) it has a badass hero in Sharni Vinson as Erin. It’s refreshing to see someone in a horror film actually have some balls (figuratively of course in this case).

    SPOILERS:

    Some of it I anticipated. Zee didn’t say a word until later in the film, when it was revealed she was part of this. At first I thought, maybe she’s a red herring since she’s not speaking at all, but then it became clear that wasn’t the case. Also – why didn’t these people communicate more? Some shit happens to them and they decide to run out of the house instead of telling the others (oh, hey, there’s somebody upstairs!).

    Anyway, I really liked the film. It was fun as hell, energetic (the score was phenomenal, which is not common for horror films, but it really made this one fun), and I just loved it all. Gets a solid B from me.

    Question though: what’s with the opening sequence? Why did these guys kill the neighbors? I guess they anticipated people running to the neighbors for help? Not sure. Anyway, fun fucking film.

    • garrett_h

      *SPOILERS* I looked at the opening sequence kill scene as a way to throw off the cops once the real deed was done. They would just think it was some serial killers going through the area instead of looking closely at the family members that survived.

      It’s also to throw off the audience too, I guess. But I wasn’t really fooled.

  • klmn

    I’m adding homeatrical to my vocabulary.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    [xx] Worth the price of admission ? Seriously ??
    The “twist” ending was obvious ten minutes in. Every character was played by the worst actor in the world. Erin was just ridiculous. The plot choices were laughable. The movie looks and feels like it was shot during a weekend among college students. Nothing happens – they hide, they fight, that’s it. In comparison, THE PURGE is a masterpiece.

    • MaliboJackk

      Be nice.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        ;-)

        I’m increasingly disappointed by these kinds of movies which have nothing whatsoever to say about the graphic violence on display. Granted, the subject here is so simple as to be simplistic and probably doesn’t call for anything other than bloody entertainment. Why not ? But in that case, QUALITY is especially called for and there is just none to be found here.

        As for THE PURGE even though it’s the wrong thread, that was a golden, stellar idea and all I could think about the whole movie was “WHY did the director choose such a banal execution of this amazing idea ? Did he not think it through ?” The whole time, ideas just raced through my head about how to do this or that.

        • Alex Palmer

          Good points, but I have to disagree about The Purge. As you say, this isn’t a purge thread, but I thought the premise was so laughable I can’t resist ranting about it.

          It’s got the whiff of those silly movie ideas I come up with in the shower sometimes. The ones bereft of logic but seem original (Snowpiercer, anyone?). What if an Artificial Intelligence was elected US president? What if bees and wasps evolved to co-exist? What if earthquakes are caused by an army of Adolph Hitler clones holding parades underground? Concept so high it’s illegal in the Netherlands.

          Its speaks to a greater problem: a story is not an idea. Execution is far more important than premise, even if high-concept is *technically* more likely to get you a read.

          • gonzorama

            Earthquakes are caused by an army of Adolph Hitler clones holding parades underground! Now that’s a size ten emergency!!!

      • Poe_Serling

        I think MZG just enrolled into gazrow’s school of Tell It Like It Is.

        • Marija ZombiGirl

          … Riding off into the sunset, leaving behind bullet ridden corpses, all gun barrells smoking… :D

    • ximan

      Carson and I usually agree, except on Prometheus and these one-off horror films. I haven’t seen the film because the trailer is too lame to put my ass in a seat, but I have a feeling your assessment in spot-on.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        The movie isn’t yet out here in France, I saw it at a press screening 2 months ago with my editor (along with THE CONJURING which I absolutely loved, by the way). It starts out ok but very quickly just drops into mediocrity and never recovers. Every 10 minutes, my editor and I exchanged WTF ? glances…
        It’s been shown at a couple of European festivals where it did pretty good as C says in his About section above. That must be the only reason for why it’s released in theaters because for the life of me, I cannot point out any others :/

    • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

      I did think the acting was pretty bad in the first ten minutes or so, but then it seemed to get better, however that works.

      I really liked Erin. It was just a fun film for me, a nice throwback to slasher films of the 70s like Prom Night, House on Sorority Row, Black Christmas, etc.

      Though I was constantly annoyed throughout by really bad banding. Maybe that was just my specific theatre, but I can’t imagine so as that’s always a quality theatre. The banding annoyed the shit out of me.

  • JakeBarnes12

    This is why I keep four AK-47s, a Rambo knife, and a fuckin’ flame-thrower in my living room every time I host a dinner party.

  • Mr A

    “I ask this question because a movie that plays in theaters will always make more than a movie played digitally”

    I’m curious, but does it really? Sure, in the case of a big successful production. But if you have a small-budget niched essentially indie film, digital might be the way to go simply for the ease of distribution?

    • Boxman

      I may be wrong, but I think Bachelorette made a solid profit thanks to VOD.

    • Brainiac138

      I don’t know if Carson meant just narrative films, but quite a few documentaries are opting for the digital release and foregoing the theatrical run because so much traffic on Netflix and iTunes goes to docs and they are able to make more concentrating on that than on the ticket split with art house theaters.

  • ximan

    The most interesting thing about writing an active protagonist is that they are so much easier and ENJOYABLE to write.

  • Poe_Serling

    Thanks for the thoughtful review, Carson.

    Overall, I’ve noticed that ‘Who’s Next’ has garnered quite a few positive reviews. I’ll
    definitely check this one out when it hits the Redbox circuit. Why Redbox? For all the hype, it doesn’t feel like a ten dollar plus theater flick to me. One other quibble: I thought the title was a bit bland and uninspired for my taste.

    Here are two of my favorite films that tap into the same vein as this pic:

    >>Straw Dogs (1972) – David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do contruction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house.

    Directed and Co-Written by Sam Peckinpah… still working at peak form. Plus,
    it features one of Dustin Hoffman’s best performances as the ultra-reluctant
    hero.

    Much like Deliverance with its groundbreaking urbanoia template, Straw Dogs would pretty much set the standard for all future ‘home siege’ thrillers.

    >>Wait Unitl Dark (1967) – A blind woman fights against drug smugglers who’ve invaded her home.

    Just a great production from top to bottom.

    Directed by Terence “Dr. No” Young. It featured an Oscar-nominated lead performance from the always classy Audrey Hepburn. Add supporting heavyweight actors like Richard Crenna, Alan Arkin, and Jack Weston to the mix and you have a real winner on your hands.

    • http://www.jorgeosvaldo.com/ Jorge Osvaldo

      Wait Until Dark sounds fantastic. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this film before. It’s on my queue now.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        WAIT UNTIL DARK is a must-see :-) It terrorized the life out of me when I was a kid ! I haven’t seen it in years, though, but I’m guessing it’ll still seem as tense to me now as back then.

    • klmn

      IIRC, Wait Until Dark was a Broadway play first.

  • http://www.jorgeosvaldo.com/ Jorge Osvaldo

    The current trend to have everyday men and women serve as a film’s hero/heroine contributes to the glut of passive protagonists. When your main character is not a detective/soldier/bounty hunter/space marine/etc., it becomes a real challenge to coerce them into calling the shots in a story.

    I’m not lamenting the dearth of 80s-style action heroes. I embrace the challenge of writing an active protagonist outside of the traditional action mold, and I hope to include one in my next screenplay. These modern heroes lend a timelessness to a story that you don’t get with John Rambo, John Matrix, and John McClane.

    • Brainiac138

      I think the opposite is true now. We don’t so much as have every day men and women in extreme circumstances, we have extreme men and women in even more extreme circumstances. Think Bourne, any Statham flick, every super hero film, etc.

      Sure John McClane was a detective, but he wasn’t an anti-terrorist specialist. Look at how he changed from the first Die Hard to most recent, he is like a totally different character.

      • http://www.jorgeosvaldo.com/ Jorge Osvaldo

        I see your point. But these extreme characters usually have boring lives, and they just happen to have secret pasts lives as ninjas or special forces soldiers, or former MMA champions. Statham is usually a driver, a lowly con man, a retired cop, etc. Bourne, after the first one, is a dude chilling on the beach with Franka Potente just minding his own business.

        Creating excuses to get these “ordinary” people in extraordinary circumstances becomes a challenge. Hence the passivity of some of these types of characters.

        • Brainiac138

          Exactly, but they are still almost always secretly holding the ability to defend themselves and trained to kill. Look at Taken, in the 80s or 90s the film would have been about the girl using her wits to get away from her captors, instead it was about her super soldier father. I recently was talking to a manager about The Fugitive and Speed, and we both agreed they were great scripts turned into fun and good films, but he said he wouldn’t be able to take those scripts anywhere today.

          • http://www.jorgeosvaldo.com/ Jorge Osvaldo

            I agree. Contemporary spec screenwriting requires a protagonist that is “special” or “different” from the pack. Early 90s thrillers tended to feature heroes that were ultra-competent at their job, but not in any superhuman way. John McClane was definitely not “the chosen one.”

            I don’t know if one trend is better than the other. I certainly can’t complain about the status quo since my current screenplay is about a special forces operative that goes toe-to-toe with a superpowered being.

  • Lisa Aldin

    I completely forgot this came out this weekend!

  • JW

    I often wonder what the deal is with horror films (fans)? If I were to write a drama or thriller with these style plot points, someone would say, go put your head back in the sand where it came from, but put it in a horror film, cast some young people willing to take some shots (and potentially a few pieces of clothing off), give me a single location and arrows flying through windows and holy sh!t we’ve got ourselves a deal. I’m not saying horror films can’t be intelligently done because I’ve seen a few I’ve really liked, but, what is it about the horror genre that allows not just C, but most writers on most boards to give it a ‘pass’ when two days earlier they were talking about someone else’s thriller or drama that “didn’t make sense because of _____.” Is it because of the expectation behind the genre that we, as the audience, will just about let ANYTHING slide?

    • Dyland55

      I wouldn’t say that we go easier on horror films, per say, I think it’s that there are different objectives a horror film has to do, same with any genre. While a weak plot or poor characters can kill a drama, a lack of action or suspense wont be that big of a deal. Now a horror that lacks surprise or a decent hook is considered weak even if some of the characters are paper thin. At least that’s my opinion…

  • drifting in space

    So… You’re Next came out this weekend. So did The World’s End. I chose to see The World’s End. Here is the short and long of my choice.

    Short: I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and in the vein of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I had wanted to see this anyway.

    Long: These horror movies are terribly cliched and I thought that straight from the trailer. How many times can we put a rich, white family in a large mansion and have psycho killers take over the house? This was marketed WAY too similarly to The Strangers that I couldn’t imagine myself spending $8.75 (I see matinees because I’m a super cheapskate) to see this.

    My problem first started with the title. You’re Next? Next for what? To laugh at your humorous bunny mask? Oh, to get an arrow through the heart. That’s what you meant.

    I don’t even care if it didn’t have a star to hang its hat on. Movies don’t need to be star powered. Horror movies are just straying from original ideas and starting to follow the trend of tent poles minus the huge budgets. Let’s re-hash an idea, have a low budget and $$$. I guess it’s working but it’s making for boring, predictable horror movies.

    Maybe I am just too desensitized to the genre. Maybe it’s because I saw Child’s Play when I was 5 while I cradled my “My Buddy” doll in my arms. Maybe I just won’t be scared or thrilled for these types of movies anymore.

    The horror project I have on my back burner seems scarier to me than anything I’ve seen lately. I still need to see The Purge though. Original concept, very interested in that one. I know I’ll be dragged over the coals for this but The Conjuring was boring as F$%&. Vera Farmiga looked great though.

    In conclusion: I can’t wait for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

    • Midnight Luck

      The Purge:

      Interesting concept, different at least, though edging on ridiculous, or at least not very plausible in a real world situation. But different compared to other horror movies, though still basically a “trapped in a house” story.

      Not scary. At all. Masks? come on, doesn’t add fear to anything, unless you are wearing the skin of someone you killed, or your face has been burned to almost an unrecognizable level. Even Heath Ledger’s JOKER was creepier and more stress inducing, but it was because he was Wacked, and you couldn’t gauge what he might do. That was entertainment.

      The Purge was chock full of Cliche. In the end it was not very interesting.

      The horror movies today do not take any chances, yet they are some of the most successful, if not THE most successful (when you take in cost to make, verse real dollars earned) films ever. Why does everyone go to these? I thought BURIED was scarier than any horror movie that has come out in 10 years. That was creeepy. and awesome.

      I’d purge The Purge from your watchlist. But, that is just one person’s opinion. I only saw it because of the Carson review, and I was going to the movies anyway, and it was a slooow week at the movies if I remember right.

      I can’t wait for MITTY either, that is my kind of movie. Love the trailer. Will it be successful like Forrest Gump, probably not, people don’t much like to see heartfelt movies anymore that tap into real personal issues. But I will be there, opening day. There are actually quite a few new movies coming out that look very intriguing.

      Also they are rereleasing (7 years after it was first released) ALL The BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE by Jonathan Levine (The Wackness – awesome, Warm Bodies – Decent but just Romeo and Juliet in disguise, but did a fairly good job) and starring Amber Heard in her breakout role. Not sure why it got buried. It was the Exact Same movie as YOUR NEXT.

      I saw The World’s End this weekend also. I love Simon Pegg. I seem to be the only one who saw How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (read and loved the book so was waiting for the movie), which I loved. And love that Shaun of the Dead was the most recent rebooting of the Zombie craze, and it was one of the best. Hot Fuzz wasn’t quite as good. Nor was The World’s End. Just not up to par sadly. But, the whole group, especially Pegg were hilarious. He seems to be able to make dirt funny. The end of the END was like they let all the air out of the tires. Just really poor. It should have been the most intense greatest part, but it just went flaccid.

      My conclusion, the same: Can’t wait for DON JON and THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY.

      • drifting in space

        Yes, the ending was the worst part, even so much to say that I wanted to walk out on it. I agree though, Pegg can make dirt funny. His delivery and whip sense of humor, I love it. Hot Fuzz wasn’t as good as Shaun, but it’s hard to live up to Shaun – that movie was fantastic.

        The trailer for Don Jon was sooo interesting. I was hooked. Don’t know if I’ll see that one in theaters but it looks good. Walter Mitty just spoke straight to my soul. I can’t help but see that opening weekend. That and Hunger Games but I have a soft spot in my heart for those since I read the books so long ago.

        • Midnight Luck

          The Don Jon trailer is really funny, and if they keep it up for most of the movie it could be great. It didn’t strike me as a “all the funny good parts are in the trailer” kind of movie.

          I am the same. Walter Mitty spoke to my soul too. It is exactly how I feel and imagine the world. It just lit me up inside. I have imagined things exactly as they are portrayed in the preview. The feelings it gives you are exactly what I like feeling when I am in the theater. A feeling of wonder, excitement, mystery, curiosity, and joy.

          • drifting in space

            I was under that impression as well. I felt there was a lot of room for Don Jon to grow as a movie and they didn’t saturate the trailer with the best parts. I’m leaning more and more towards avoiding all trailers these days as they really seem to ruin the movie. The new trailer for The World’s End pretty much gives it all away.

      • Linkthis83

        How to Lose Friends and Alienate People was really good (I hadn’t read the book). I thought Pegg was great in Run Fat Boy Run.

        I thought Buried was intense. I was physically stressed watching that movie.

        I wholeheartedly agree about having ideas for these movies and what they SHOULD’VE/COULD’VE done. It’s like they get the concept and just move on.

        • BSBurton

          David Schwimmer from Friends did Run Fat Boy Run. I thoroughly enjoyed it when i saw it like 3 year ago. I think Pegg’s “Paul” alien movie was one of the worst things and a waste of great actors.

          • Midnight Luck

            I skipped Paul, I sensed from the trailer it was going to be so dumb I might lose some brain cells if I watched it (not unlike Adam Sandler movies).

        • Midnight Luck

          Yeah, I really enjoyed Run Fat Boy Run, it surprised me Schwimmer directed it. I never thought much of him. I think it was all because of Pegg and Hank Azaria (who also can be hilarious).

      • Linkthis83

        It also seems like the masses aren’t demanding better stories. The only ones who really want better stories are the writers.

        • drifting in space

          Then we write the stories and they get rejected because they aren’t “the same, but different”. They’re just different. /cry

          • Linkthis83

            Or maybe going to the movies is like going to vote. You’re not really happy about any of your choices so you just pick one. Or…you just like splosions and blood and nudity. Hmmm…I just might have my next project mapped out.

          • drifting in space

            Machete Kills is right in your wheelhouse then. LOL! /titillating

        • Midnight Luck

          I agree. People are seeing garbage and therefore allowing more to be made.

  • garrett_h

    Overall, I enjoyed You’re Next.

    Would I recommend it to the average moviegoer? I dunno. Maybe. If you’ve got nothing to do and an extra $10 in your pocket. But in this economy I’m not sure a lot of people have any extra dough.

    It had some funny moments. Like the arrow in the back guy. I dunno why but that got huge laughs in my theater. And as Carson said, the hero was really someone you wanted to root for.

    I saw the twist coming a mile away, almost right from the beginning. It was just so telegraphed. I’m still trying to figure out a way to do these twists the right way. Ultimately the Sixth Sense Rule remains the key. The best twists make you rethink everything that has happened up until that point. Here it was just like, “Oh, OK. That’s nice.”

    I also don’t think the marketing helped. I mean the trailer was on just about every movie I’ve seen over the past couple months. It was so heavy handed. “GO SEE THIS MOVIE BECAUSE EVERYONE LOVES IT.” When I first saw the trailers I was intrigued. But after being bludgeoned by clip after clip I almost didn’t even go see it.

    In the end, it was still a fun movie. And horror fans got what they wanted. But it needed more to have that mainstream crossover appeal.

  • drifting in space

    I’ve noticed a trend here the last few weeks. When a script review is posted, not a lot of comments. 10 tips type of post, more comments, not a ton. Behind the scenes look on what it takes to make it and what happens after you do? EXPLOSION of comments.

    • guess who

      Exactly.

  • Boxman

    Spoilers….

    Is nobody going to talk about the “I want you to fuck me on so and so’s dead body” scene?

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      I would but I’m still laughing too hard to say anything intelligible.

    • klmn

      One step removed from necrophilia.

    • Linkthis83

      I think it’s okay. It’s purely situational and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’d find it questionable or disturbing if this person had this as a personal life goal or it was their “thing.” Sometimes life presents unique opportunities that you must capitalize on for they won’t always present themselves. Especially in this particular scene if the dead body is specific to the character’s desire. If it was just any dead body then this personality quirk should be altered. But if the character who wants to fornicate on the dead body wants to because of some internal need/external goal, then it’s probably appropriate and should remain in the movie. I haven’t seen the film so I’m uncertain which applies here.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    I wasn’t going to comment since horror just isn’t my thing but since you mentioned Brittany Snow I must speak. She was a redhead in Pitch Perfect and pretty hot in it. Makes up for a movie with character I either don’t care about or hate. Now everyone can talk about You’re Next.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    I thought it was a good idea with lots of opportunities to say something about such diverse subjects as gun control, religion, education… But the director obviously thought it was enough just to have that one single idea.

  • J.R. Kinnard

    I had a blast at this movie, even though horror isn’t my favorite genre.

    So much great, dark humor. And man did Erin kick some ass! She didn’t just kill bad guys, she freaking kicked their butts and THEN killed them.

    After “The Purge” and the debacle that was the “Evil Dead” re-make, I was pretty skeptical about seeing a good horror/suspense film this year. “You’re Next” has restored my faith.

    You’re absolutely right, Carson, about the script, particularly the time taken to establish the characters, being the primary reason this movie works. I know a lot of ‘gore hounds’ couldn’t care less about anything but the kills, but that stuff just bores me to tears. If I don’t know anything about the characters or how they relate to each other, even the most creative death will leave me yawning.

    It really is instructive to compare this movie to the “Evil Dead” re-make. The reason why that movie failed and “You’re Next” succeeds is all about the characters. Specifically, giving each character their own distinct personality. It doesn’t take much, really. All it takes is a screenwriter with the ability to establish a character’s voice quickly, and a director willing to make that investment of time.

  • grendl

    Thanks for the plug Nessie.

  • Jonathan Soens

    Just got back from seeing this with my fiancee. My fiancee got a serious scare, though not entirely from the movie itself.

    We were the only ones in the theater, and we were sitting in the back row right underneath the projector window.

    During a somewhat tense scene, there was a sound from above us. I thought it was probably just bugs flying into the glass window of the projector room, so I didn’t pay it any mind. But my fiancee looks up, and she says there was a guy up there with his head sticking out the window staring down at us. He apparently pulled back as soon as she looked up. So I guess the sounds we heard were that guy opening/closing the window.

    And it was shortly after a scene where a character jumps out a window and looks back up to see one of the masked guys poke their head out the window to look down at them.

    So of course she made us switch seats, and then she kept looking back over at the projector room’s window every other second for the rest of the movie.

    It was bizarre. Not sure what they were doing. Were they checking to see if the theater was empty (presumably so they could leave)? Was it some dumb teenager who thought he was gonna catch a glimpse of people having theater-sex, or something? Did they think it would be funny to creep people out during a scary movie? Might have been funny if he was wearing a mask.

    I dunno. My fiancee was freaked out. Odd movie experience.

  • Bfied

    scriptshadow! I need your help!

    Does anyone know the title of the script about two high school overachieving girls, who having missed out on fun in high school, decide to transform themselves the summer before they leave for college?

    Much appreciated… thank you.

  • Cfrancis1

    I agree with a lot of posters here that The Purge sounded like a good idea… for about ten seconds before I started blowing holes into the premise. Just seems ridiculous. Then again, I’ll probably rent it on RedBox simply because I’ll try almost anything for $1.28.

    This sounds a lot better. At first I thought it was going to be a The Strangers rip-off, which put me off completely. The Strangers disturbed the hell out of me. One of those, I’m-glad-I-saw-it-once-but-never-again kind of movies. Glad to hear this one is different.