Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
"You're Next" is a simultaneously nihilistic and grossly incompetent horror homage. Imagine "Ten Little Indians" remade by horror buffs who don't have the patience to reproduce what they love most about horror films. Wingard, Barrett and company don't do anything with the slasher conventions they play around with.
Watching "You're Next" is like eating a tin-foil-wrapped tray of leftovers. It's a hamburger, so you shouldn't expect steak. But the contents of your tray are: a half-eaten, microwave-nuked cheeseburger; leaves of wilting, translucent lettuce; slices of yellowing, sickly tomato; and floppy, soggy french fries. Consuming this product is not entirely unpleasant since it's almost impossible to screw up such a short order. But that doesn't change the sad fact that "You're Next" is essentially a flavorless leftover. It looks like what you ordered, but it's only satisfying if you settle for much less.
Because "You're Next" is an assembly-line product made on a small production line, the film has a situation instead of a plot, and types instead of characters. All you need to know is this: A family of estranged siblings re-unite for dinner with their parents. They are subsequently hunted down by masked killers before they can develop personalities, though they all have obvious tics meant to signal personality. For example, Felix (Nicholas Tucci) is shy because he doesn't say anything. His girlfriend Zee (Wendy Glenn) is jaded because she rolls her eyes and smokes. And Drake (Joe Swanberg) is an opinionated asshole because he smirks a lot and is generally loud. So we root for Erin (Sharni Vinson), an Australian college student, because she's the only one who can handle herself in a crisis. Better still, Erin is really good at killing people with improvised weapons. Like, brutally. As in, once she starts putting the hurt on an assailant, she doesn't stop until blood rockets out of freshly created orifices. Look out Sarah Connor, here comes Erin!
Erin's a cold-blooded badass because she grew up around survivalists. This isn't really a spoiler because that information doesn't tell you anything about the character. All it tells you is that Erin can beat people up real good because her family are the most extreme doomsday preppers, the kind who anticipate the end of the world by learning how to survive in any hostile environment.