By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. This is the ANTI-MONITOR podcast, where you should grab anything that might make a good weapon. This week, Jarrod & Birdy dive into October with the squirrely mumblegore movie, ‘You’re Next’. But first, the boys share their favorite slasher flicks of all time.
As always, be wary for spoilers throughout, and please enjoy.
ANTI-MONITOR: MATT — The duo of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have worked within the independent film scene cheekily named “mumblegore” long enough that you’d think they could create a horror experience on the cheap that doesn’t aggravate its audience. They nailed it with 2014’s The Guest, and they biffed it with their entry into the Blair Witch franchise; You’re Next seems to fall somewhere between total failure and fully realized masterwork. Rather than reinventing the slasher movie, they attempt to meld it with an old-timey Agatha Christie whodunit, and the results are messy at best.
That doesn’t mean You’re Next isn’t a ton of fun at times. A few top-notch kills, one hell of a badass female protagonist, and a fist-pumping finale are a few of the highlights of this ambitious, if overly clever frightfest. When working in a medium called “mumblegore,” viewers may expect some sloppiness, and You’re Next is far from a focused effort. Discerning horror fans who don’t mind suspending their disbelief way up there may find some enjoyment in this silly stab-fest. If Wingard and Barrett can reign themselves in long enough to create something more thoughtful, I’d happily pay to watch it.
ANTI-MONITOR: JARROD — Birdy is much kinder about You’re Next than I am. When I watch a slasher movie, I realize a few fundamental truths: Expectations have to be lowered, disbelief gets hung on a meat hook, and the general rules of objective reasoning don’t necessarily apply. However, it’s not unreasonable to expect a slasher movie to at least meet you halfway. It’s not unreasonable to assume that a slasher movie is going to be engaging, exciting, or, at the very least, make some goddamned sense.
I’d say that the term “mumblegore” is antithetical to the concept of horror, but I know that it’s not. Even within this particularly obnoxious subgenre, horror movies have the propensity to develop slowly, to deject flashy tropes, and subvert psychosexual paradigms found in lesser “spooky” fare. I don’t think anyone told that to Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, who indulge in jump-scares at every available juncture, splash unconvincing blood all over the place, and make sure that every single character in their movie is precisely the broad caricature you’d find in a general wide-release sleazefest. In short, I should have seen their craptacular Blair Witch redo coming from a thousand miles away.
For more competent examples of the mumblegore genre, allow me to suggest Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin and Ti West’s House of the Devil.
CONSENSUS: — Imaginative when it wants to be but far too clever for its own good, You’re Next is a B-grade slasher flick with no ambitions to become more. 4 out of 10
Before: “John Hillcoat’s ‘THE ROAD’ Is Dystopia For The Art House Set,” here.
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