The very best thing a horror movie can do is get you so invested in the characters that it's the very idea that they are in danger that troubles you. Not the frequency of gore or the creepiness of the killers at large. And for a while, there, that's what You're Next seems to be up to: really immersing you in the family Davison. An uneven clan of resentful, emotionally distant WASPs, there is just as much tension before the killings begin during their countryside weekend getaway as there is midway through the bloodbath. The defining difference: the earlier stuff is a bit more fun.
Middle-aged married couple Paul (Rob Moran) and Aubrey (Barbara Crampton) retreat to their gigantic vacation home in the middle of nowhere, gathering each of their grown children (and their respective significant others) together for a moreover unpleasant dinner. The occasion is ambiguous, although it is suggested that the family is trying to mend some long-tattered fences with this reunion. As such, the meal proceeds with spiteful comments, passive-aggressive comebacks, and a general feeling of discomfort for the only sane one in the room: Erin (Sharni Vinson), second son Crispian's (AJ Bowen) Australian girlfriend and former student. And then, murders.
Lots and lots of murders. For no discernible reason, the family finds itself the victim of a team of eerily masked home invaders packing machetes and crossbows, bent on slaying each and every one of the dumbfounded Davisons. Naturally, as the characters fall, the stakes rise. But we lose more than bodies with each killing — we lose the fun. The fun in hearing adult siblings argue about which one of them is the fastest and as such most capable of running to get help. The fun in brothers bickering pettily about life choices while one has an arrow lodged in his upper back (that's Joe Swanberg, far and away the funniest player in the movie). Once the stars begin to get picked off with greater speed, there are fewer opportunities for these family squabbles.
The cat and mouse game to follow, however, is one a few notches above that of a normal horror flick, thanks entirely to the charms, quirks, and skills of guest Erin. Still, what we have from the second act on is a horror movie — a fun one, but nothing more. As You're Next seems to paint itself with the inventive countenance of something like Cabin in the Woods, you might be entering the game with expectations set high. Lower them just a bit, not too much. What you'll have in store is not a colorless slasher picture — it's a fun, funny, occasionally startling, and temporarily interesting. But rest assured, it's nothing too far outside the box, either.
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Now it’s Milo’s (Zlatko Buric) turn the big bad drug dealer from the original Pusher. It begins with him going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. He says he wants to get clean so he can have a better relationship with his daughter Milena (Marinela Dekic). In the next scene Milo goes back to scoring drugs but he’s also planning Milena’s birthday party. As the big night nears Milo finds out that his latest score was ecstasy not heroin but sorting that out doesn’t seem so much of a priority to him. Milo gets busy cooking for his family gathering while his underlings try to sort out the X/dope mess. Milena’s got her own interests too and she’s not afraid of her badass father. The twist of the family story is a nice change-up for the Pusher series but it still delves into the violent world of drugs and qualifies as a worthy entry to the franchise. Buric plays a much older Milo here than he did in the first Pusher. With a deep sorry mumble he’s going through the motions of older age. He gets exasperated with his crew for pestering him while he’s trying to attend to his family and he seems like a normal dad in that way. Family fights are the same normal blow ups with quick forgiveness that happen at any Thanksgiving day gathering. As the night wears on Buric shows Milo’s growing intensity. His silent brooding means he is evaluating his distractions but really remains calm in even the worst of drug mishaps. It’s way cooler than the panicked street hoods of the first two Pushers. Now you can watch a real pro at work. As Milena Dekick doesn’t have too much personality. Is she spoiled? We get hints of that. Is she just controlling? Probably and with good reason living in that family. The other crew members are just generic criminals. Focusing on the family and Milo’s attempted recovery from addiction is a good twist. All the street dealing was getting old especially in Pusher II. This seems like a more adult Pusher dealing with real issues everyone has in some way--work family etc. It’s just most people aren’t thugs. Like a My Big Fat European Pusher this third one creates more excitement around the party preparations than the crime world. Still the movie is a Pusher so you’re waiting for the crime story to pop back in. The violence is plenty brutal but it’s torture not action. There’s no suspense because this is Milo the man in charge. It really makes one wish they’d just combined all three perspectives into one massive expose rather than dragging it out through three films.