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    You're Next: A Horror Movie With Lots of Heart but Very Few Brains

    You're Next: A Horror Movie With Lots of Heart but Very Few Brains

    I recently watched a horror movie called You're Next which was released in 2011. I've never been particularly interested in writing movie reviews because like any art form, a movie's quality will be purely subjective. However, You're Next may be the most egregious example of a good movie hamstrung by characters making nonsensical decsisions that I've ever seen. I could have just as easily written about Prometheus by Ridley Scott but it has been analyzed to death while You're Next is presented as being a plausible scenario in which the audience can relate.

    Life changing spoilers ahead. Seriously, if you haven't seen the movie then stop reading, watch it and come back to this analysis afterwards.

    Sliding Glass Doors

    You're Next opens with logic problems. I have never lived anyplace where doors, sliding or otherwise, were open and I didn't know exactly the reason why. You'd think she would have gone upstairs to see if the guy left them open, or grab a gun expecting the worse, or something proactive. Nope, close the doors and go on about your business. Must have been the wind.

    Yet Another Open Door

    Fine, so it's attributed to "workmen" leaving it open but then the wife hears footsteps. Realistically, they should have been all over that house like white on rice. Yes, the husband checks some rooms but if he had done a more thorough job maybe he'd still be alive today.

    Tunnel Vision

    When the mom goes to get a late night drink of water she conveniently doesn't see the masked man in the window. Apparently, she has glaucoma which has resulted in the complete loss of her peripheral vision. I know it was done because it's a cool camera visual when changing the focal plane but it stood out like a sore thumb.

    The First Kill

    Windows are thick and glass is hard. As soon as I saw the bolt to the head I thought about deflection. The killer would have been at least fifteen to twenty feet from the window and the guy is five feet back. It's not a big deal but it struck me as highly unlikely. A bolt is actually shown later which does deflect when hitting the window reinforcing my previous observation.

    The Run

    Sharni Vinson's character, Erin, smartly suggests staying put because they don't know how many bad guys may be outside yet everyone else seems to think it's a good idea to make a run for the cars. This blew my mind. These people are upper crust and well educated yet they all agree that it's a smart move to go forward with this plan. Are there lots of bad guys outside? Who knows. Is it even the least bit safe? Doesn't matter. Let's do it anyways. Then there's the whole concept of running. Wouldn't a normal person crack open the door and look around. Maybe go slow and bring a weapon. Possibly go as a single group... you know, safety in numbers. Nope. Just throw caution to the wind and bolt like a frightened horse. The subsequent neck laceration is also highly unlikely. Once the sister hits the wire I'm pretty sure the most damage she would have received is a cut and fallen down because she wasn't going fast enough to do the damage that results. Also, the wire happens to be at exactly the right height for the sister. If she were three inches shorter it would have glanced off of her forehead. If it were the tall brother it would have hit him in the chest. The entire scene is ridiculous.

    Take a Look

    Erin starts to mobilize everyone for battle; namely making sure all windows and doors are locked. While in the kitchen a bad guy grabs Erin's hair through the window at which point she stabs him in the forearm. This is all fine but then he disappears and she decides to stare longingly through the window. Didn't she just see a two people shot with a crossbow minutes earlier. First, why aren't the bad guys using guns? America is armed to the teeth yet none of the bad guys owns a firearm. Erin would have caught a bullet to the head given how long she stood at the window. Second, isn't she in a hurry? What is she doing hanging out in the kitchen looking out a window when she needs to get back to the others?

    Midnight Stroll

    While covering the now deceased mother with a blanket, the non-decapitated sister encounters one of the bad guys, freaks out and makes like the wind. She wisely runs to the closest neighbor seeking assistance. Then she gets dumb. Seeing a man on the couch, she stands there pounding on the window. Pounding...and pounding...and pounding. You know, because he just loves that song so much that he tunes out the rest of the world. But by all means just keep pounding and I'm sure you'll get his attention eventually. After the third bad guy kills the sister, he decides he is exhausted from all the walking and crossbow shooting and axes to heads so it must be break time. Maybe he just really likes the song as well. It IS a really good song.

    Love Me Tender

    The kill in this scene is actually very realistic but prior to that Erin is hunting for weapons from the likes of William's Sonoma and The Pampered Chef. She then rejoins the group and mentions that everyone needs to carry a weapon. Why hasn't anyone gone back upstairs and liberated the free machete currently located in the mom's skull? The second bad guy, knife injured arm working perfectly now, shows up and subsequently dies because Erin is a secret bad-ass. After Erin turns his brains into paste, Felix and Zee look for the dad while Erin goes to fix the circuit box. However, instead of taking the newly available axe from the dead second bad guy she sticks with her trusty meat tenderizer. Ol' Tendy, my friend, I'd never give you up for some stupid axe, Erin says lovingly.

    Door Handles Are Hard

    The third bad guy finds the second bad guy dead, freaks out and then determines Erin's location because she bumps a broom. That's classic Erin for you. He casually tries to open said door but finds it virtually immovable; similar to the Doors of Durin leading to Moria. With his newly acquired axe, that Erin, Felix or Zee should have picked up, he starts chopping at the door doing his best impersonation of Jack Nicholson in The Shinning. Why bother using the axe on the door handle. That would only speed up the process of breaking through ruining the suspense.


    Shortly thereafter, the non-patricide brother stumbles from his safe hiding spot distracting the third bad guy. At which point, Erin makes her move all the while bellowing out her banshee wail announcing the bad guy's impending death. Erin could have been all ninja quite, launching a surprise attack but felt her ear-splitting scream was better suited for the situation. Of course the bad guy, so focused on the brother, fails to hear the harbinger of deaf... I mean death. Even though Erin is holding the meat tenderizer she instead decides to stab the third bad guy in the shoulder with a screw driver. This is right after killing the second bad guy and learning the efficacy of blunt force trauma to the head.


    At this point in the movie wearing scary masks seems fairly pointless. But these bad guys are dedicated to their work of murdering innocent people in the most unnecessary and complicated fashion possible. Otherwise, where's the challenge? No guns, check. Obscured vision, check. No communication devices, check. While climbing through a window the third bad guy see Erin's clever yet easily observable booby trap of spiked wood under the window. His brother is dead, things definitely have not gone as planned, and Erin has shown herself to be a resourceful target. But by all means, keep the mask on at all times. Needless to say, he steps on a plank he DIDN'T see and the requisite sad trombone music plays in the viewer's head.

    Lone Wolf McDummy

    Everyone is well aware of the current death count. The bad guys also know who is in cahoots on the master plan and who isn't. Erin is literally the only thing standing between the bad guys and their money. When Erin's cell phone goes off with four, yes FOUR, bad guys in the other room; what do they do? Send just one bad guy to check it out. Maybe Erin just got really lucky those other times. Her lucky streak surely can't continue, can it? Yes, yes it can. Because only one of the four available bad guys felt it necessary to check out the suspicious cell phone sound, he rightly gets punched in the throat, drops like a sack of bricks and Erin scampers away.

    It's Just a Scratch

    Well maybe not scamper given her bad leg injury and all but when she makes it outside, instead of taking the extra two seconds to go down the four steps she hops the rail like a cop in an 80s movie. Did I mention she pulled a six inch piece of broken glass from her leg. Minimal blood loss and still able to hop porch rails while never losing a step. Those loser bad guys though go down the porch steps like suckers losing valuable Erin chasing time.

    Second Time's the Charm

    The now hobbled third bad guy, deciding to not hold everyone back, stumbles along in the pursuit. Sensing something is amiss and hearing a sound he alters course towards an open window. Even though he just got a nail through the foot due to mask impaired vision resulting in limited visibility, he decides to give it another go. OH SNAP! Tragedy strikes again only this time it's a knife to the head. Queue second playing of sad trombone music. In retrospect, maybe he should have temporarily suspended his affinity for Halloween masks until the job was done.

    MacGyver Time

    If we didn't already know how clever Erin was she aptly demonstrates it by constructing an elaborate booby trap at the front door. Even though everyone apparently loves entering and exiting the house via windows, this seems like the right time to arm this single solitary point of entry. Plus, she is using magical super string which can support the weight of a large axe and brick. While it might seem impossible for regular people, Erin has demonstrated there is nothing she can't do if she puts her mind to it.

    Log from Blammo!

    Quick. Which is better at killing people, a machete or a log? If you guessed log then you are now adequately prepared to defend against a murderous home invasion by masked psychopaths. Also, be sure to use camera flashes or other shiny baubles to lure and distract said assailants and to provide an opportunity to beat them to death with the aforementioned log home defense system. After getting punched in the throat and dropped like third period French, you'd think this particular bad guy would have learned his lesson the first time. Nope. Lone wolfing it like a boss and getting bitch slapped with timber is the result.

    All Clear

    Erin is then caught unawares and Felix shoots her with the crossbow through the window. Erin however is wise to his monkey shines and scurries away none the worse for wear. Instead of both Felix and Zee pursuing her, Zee goes in alone while Felix heads to his whip to turn off the cell phone jammer. Yes, Erin is still alive, has a cell phone and desperately needs help so it makes perfect sense to re-enable her only means of communication with the outside world. Not to worry Felix says to himself. I got this!

    Cooking for Killers

    With the ridiculous number of cop dramas on television you'd think everyone from 8 to 80 would know how to properly clear a room. Zee cautiously approaches the kitchen only to get immediately disarmed by Erin. At a minimum, she could have gotten a shot off that barely misses Erin but no, just use the trusty Konami code to disarm bad guys and move on to the boss fight. Felix arrives and some hilarity ensues but when given the opportunity to take Erin out with a sleeper hold or knife to the throat he instead decides to stab her in the back. His poor decision making leads to him getting clocked with a blender resulting in pureed grey matter. The problem is that, like preparing any meal, it takes time. Step 1 - Place the blender on top of head. Step 2 - Plug in blender. Step 3 - Turn on blender to appropriate brain liquifying setting and hold for ten seconds. You'd think during this prep time Zee would have armed herself or left the kitchen or something. Instead Zee is hanging out on the kitchen floor, catching her breath, waiting for Erin to finish. Not content to let Felix have all the traumatic brain injuries, Zee politely waits her turn for a knife to the dome.

    The Twist

    Yet another window entry. There is literally no reason Crispian can't go through the front door, which interestingly enough happens to be the way he left. But who knows; maybe he likes to mix it up. Next time he'll come crashing through a skylight like Batman. I love the Crispian line about lets think about this logically. Why do that Crispian? The movie has yet to be logical up to this point. Don't you remember fifteen seconds earlier when you entered the house using the window even though you left through the front door. But you know who WILL use the front door, the cop that just shot Erin. The cop is standing at the window. He just saw someone stab someone else in the eye. He doesn't know if she's dead or just temporarily disabled. Without properly securing the scene he decides it must be safe to go back to his car to call in the situation. Why doesn't he have a radio on his person? Who knows. This small detour means the cop is literally going to be the ONLY PERSON to enter the house using the front door since the beginning of the movie.


    Understand this dear reader; I really enjoyed You're Next. If it sounds like I'm being hard on it, it's because I am. The setup is well done. The main song that plays throughout is great. The Blade Runner'esque Tron style music that plays in the third act is unexpectedly perfect. Acting, directing, pacing, story; all of it is very enjoyable. That's why it is so disappointing that there are so many logical errors. There are many problems both large and small which instantly take the viewer out of the experience. That said, I'm still glad I watched You're Next but unfortunately it's a one and done situation. If I were to watch it again, all I'd see is the problems and wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much.

    Image by: Lionsgate