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First Trailer for YOU’RE NEXT Arrives

March 28, 2013 Leave a comment

youre-next-poster-sheep

Finally. It has arrived.  After over a year of pocketing this little horror gem, Lionsgate is releasing festival favorite You’re Next.  The trailer is pretty good, mostly focusing on the more intense horror elements of the film while keeping most of the unique aspects on the back burner.  The use of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” is an inspired musical pick that plays into these unique aspects without tipping the hat so to speak.  It’s important to note that You’re Next isn’t your average run of the mill home invasion flick and in fact has a healthy dose of effective humor built in to offset some of the more intense moments.


I was lucky enough to see the film at Fantastic Fest 2011 and again at SXSW 2013. Read my review for more details but I will say You’re Next is a fresh blast of blood soaked fun in a genre that desperately needs reinventing. You’re Next opens August 23rd, 2013.

Thanks to Joblo for the embeddable link.  You can also watch the trailer here.

If you need a synopsis, here you go I suppose:

You’re Next reinvents the genre by putting a fresh twist on home-invasion horror. When a gang of masked, ax-wielding murderers descend upon the Davison family reunion, the hapless victims seem trapped… until an unlikely guest of the family proves to be the most talented killer of all.

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Movie Tally 2012: The Aggression Scale (2012)

April 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Movie Tally 2012The Aggression Scale (2012)

Directed by Steven C. Miller

Viewed: 3/11/2012 (@ Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, TX) SXSW

A home invasion movie where a kid fights back Kevin McAllister style only with fatal and brutal booby traps to maim and kill the intruders.  From that explanation you would think The Aggression Scale is a fun blend of absurd and thrilling.  Unfortunately you would be wrong.  The film wastes a decent setup and hook with bland protagonists, some painfully dull set pieces, and a half-baked script.  Luckily there’s some inspired direction and an interesting score to keep your interest for a while.

The film starts with a series of seemingly random killings over a pulsating score and flashy neon opening credit sequence.  Robert Wise plays a mob boss (for all of 2 minutes) recently released from prison for something that we never really find out about.  Former colleagues and associates benefited from the boss’s imprisonment so he’s looking for revenge one double crosser at a time.  He sends a group of thugs headed by actor Dana Ashbrook to go retrieve some cash and inflict some punishment on the final person, an accountant/lawyer type with a newly integrated family featuring a mute kid, a rebellious teen stepdaughter and a new wife who’s arm is in a sling for no particular reason.

There’s an attempt at some semblance of a setup for the carnage that follows with a lengthy slow burn introduction to each of the characters with small looks at their particular quirks.  Dad has a secret, the stepdaughter skirts authority by smoking pot outside, the wife…actually I have no idea what her deal is, and finally a creepy kid who doesn’t talk and does weird shit at night.  I admire the attempt but ultimately there’s nothing about any of these characters that make me root for them to survive the impending bloodshed.  Owen, the mute kid, apparently scored the highest possible value on “an aggression scale” which is a psychological measurement that indicates the violent capacity of a human being.  Why is Owen this way?  Was he bullied?  Did someone train him?  How does he know how to create these intricate traps?  Unfortunately none of these questions are answered or even hinted at.  He’s just a crazy kid who has a strong willingness to dish out violence and chooses not to talk for some reason.

My main problem with The Aggression Scale actually has more to do with the tone of the film.  It takes everything so seriously that the ridiculousness of what’s happening on screen comes across much like the main character, stoic and muted.  No one is having any fun here, Dana Ashbrook can’t even decide whether he wants to chew a scene up or play it straight serious with his main antagonist character.  It surprised me when the minor thugs played by the likes of Derek Mears, Jacob Reynolds and Joesph McKelheer were the most enjoyable and fun aspects of the film.  Mears in particular makes the most of each scene he’s in whether it be a ferocious, violent outburst or a quick comedic quip.  The Aggression Scale is at it’s best when it treads the line of being ridiculous while threatening to go full blown over the top.  If they had just decided to go full out and embrace the crazy concept, the film and the audience would’ve gotten the bloody, insane fun that the hook teases.

Although he has a tough time with nailing the tone, the director Steven C. Miller shows some talent constructing a scene visually.  For the most part the camera is steady and smooth clearly setting up the geography of the scene for the audience to clearly follow what’s happening.  Even when he occasionally dips into semi-handheld territory it’s for good reason in tense close up moments that elicit some genuine terror and suspense.  The score composed by Kevin Riepl fits in perfectly adding some tension and energy to a fairly cold film.

The pieces are here.  There’s a bloody home invasion crowd pleaser in here somewhere.  It’s a shame that the final product couldn’t live up to such an insanely goofy premise.  Some great onscreen violence can’t makeup for a lamely written main character who should have by all rights been a complete badass.  Steven C. Miller has the chops and I’ll certainly give whatever he makes a watch in the future but The Aggression Scale is a violent mess that could have been so much better.

    2.0 out of 5