Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blu-ray Review - "You're Next"

The horror movie formula is a very difficult genre to reinvent. No matter which way you take it in, comedy, torture porn, thriller or just a flat out gore fest, the core dynamic remains which is that for the next couple of hours the audience is going to sit there watching people they either care or don't care about being dispatched one by one. While the new horror film You're Next still succumbs to that formula, it interjects enough new ideas as well as some truly surprising twists and turns that might lead you to forget you are watching the same horror story you have seen countless times before, just with a fresh coat of paint. Read the full review after the break.

Review Vital Stats:
Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: January 14, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Player: Playstation 4
Monitor: Samsung 40' LCD Series 5
Picture Quality: 1080p
Sound Quality: DTS HD - English

To read my original review for the Theatrical Release of You're Next, just follow the link below.

Watching You're Next for the first time last summer was one of the most pleasantly surprising moments I had in theaters. There were some really good horror films released earlier such as Evil Dead and The Conjuring, but nothing could prepare me for what this little gem of a indie horror film had in store. It gracefully fought against the current of other me-too horror films by being both smart and surprisingly funny.

Yes, horror/comedies aren't anything all that original anymore and are almost a joke unto themselves at this point (especially the self aware ones such as the once almighty Scream franchise). But You're Next wisely sidesteps that dangerous pitfall of self awareness and instead understands that the audience is already self aware, so there is no need to let us know that the characters are in on the joke as well. Instead the actors, the script and the direction is done as though they are all completely unaware that most of what transpires is borderline ridiculous and over the top.

Watching the film for a second time however really seals the deal though. Knowing where the clever twists and turns are and seeing those little hints that seemed so insiginficant before and how in your face they seem now is confirmation that You're Next is the real deal and not just some one time fling that surprised you at first only to show the chinks in its armor the second time around. It may not end up being a classic or standard setter like other cult horror classics such as Evil Dead, Shaun of the Dead and The Cabin in the Woods were. But it will still likely find its audience on Blu-ray and that audience is in for one helluva treat.


What's on the disc?

While it is somewhat of a miracle that the film has the features it does have, the fact that we get two audio commentaries, mostly by the same people, and only one behind the scenes doc is kind of a let down. It would have been interesting to go into the history of the film a bit more, such as its long run through the independent film festival that eventually got it picked up and released. But we take what we can get and in this case just having the film itself is reason enough to enjoy what little morsels we got.


Audio Commentary 1 (Director Adam Wingard & Writer Simon Barrett) - If you pick one commentary to listen to, don't pick this one. Even Wingard and Barrett tell you that you picked the wrong one at the outset. While there is some good info you can derive from their conversation, the commentary as a whole just feels like two friends shooting the shit which makes it feel like over kill. Seriously, instead of proving their geekness to us (just wait for the discussion about Aliens) their time would have been better spent providing a couple extra different special features. Listen to the other commentary, there is almost no reason to listen to this one.

Audio Commentary 2 (Director Adam Wingard, Writer Simon Barrett And Actors Sharni Vinson And Barbara Crampton) - This second commentary provides the goods. Everyone is on point, insightful and all are having a lot of fun as they go over the film from both the production and actor's point of view. It may not make up for the lack of other extras on the disc, but you at least get some get behind the scenes info on the film which is reason enough to give it a listen at least once.

"No Ordinary Home Invasion: The Making of You're Next" (11:41) (HD) - This may be no ordinary home invasion, but this behind the scenes look at the film is every bit as ordinary as you might expect. Despite giving some interesting little nuggets of info, it often feels as though it is glossing over everything where a more fleshed out multi-part breakdown of the production would have dug deeper. Still though, if you want a glimpse of the production on the film and some quick thoughts from those involved, it isn't horrible.

Theatrical Trailer HD - The film's masterful theatrical trailer. I highly suggest watching the film and then going back to see the trailer and admire it for how expertly it keeps all the twists and turns from being given away. All trailer makers should take note from this one.


Movie   -  A-
Video   -  A
Audio   -  A
Extras D+


There isn't much more to say other than if you are a horror fan and haven't seen the film yet, you are missing out. The disc has a great video presentation and the audio is pitch perfect for those looking to enhance the creepiness, but the extras aren't nearly as robust as they could have been (especially given the history of the film). But none of that is pertinent since the film itself is worth owning even if there were zero extras on the disc.

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