Darke Reviews | You’re Next (2013)

I have to admit, the trailers for this one did not grab me. Going into it  I was not a fan of the home invasion style horror that is so rampant in today’s horror films. It *is* the new style of horror and is representative of what we fear most as a western society. Someone coming into our homes, taking our freedoms, our things, and our lives – our sense of peace and safety. Thats what these are all about, even many of the ghost stories are just a supernatural take on home invasion. It is still an invader in the home of the protagonists that they must take action against or they risk life, limb, and sanity. So when the trailer for this was released I had no desire to see it. I mean check this:

Yay a film about the 1% being murdered? Wasn’t that the Purge? I suppose there is a sense of satisfaction in it, morbid as it may be. As a non 1% I can at least admit to taking some small satisfaction (not always small) in seeing the “Haves” suffer at the hands of the “Have Nots”.  The trailer though doesn’t offer us anything new. It doesn’t entice. Even the music is off putting and seems to be without reason. This is in the category of Trailer Fails that I am going to start using as a tag on my posts. I may have to go back and add it to others, but we will let this one start it.

So what about the film itself? (This one is new enough to remain spoiler free)

It has a script but Simon Barrett. Barrett for one of his earliest projects gave us the SyFy classic Frankenfish. Yes I’ve seen it. Yes it is as bad as you might imagine. You’re Next is his first feature film, with segments on V/H/S and ABC”s of Death coming after the relative success of this film. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie and its writing. It was a touch on the jaded side in dealing with the Rich, it doesn’t even lampshade it. It calls OUT the fact the family is rich with clear intent by the non rich protagonist. There was a certain bias there, but at the same time it is darkly humorous in moments you wouldn’t expect. It also respects the intelligence of some of the characters.

Some of this is in the first 8 minutes , so I do not consider it spoiler. They get to the house. The door is open. Its rationalized off. A small scene later, footsteps are heard upstairs loud enough to shake a chandelier. The woman goes “Time to go” and is talked out of it by the husband. The fact that “we need to leave” were some of the first words in the conversation is a relief. The movie is almost…almost Scream like in many respects. Where Scream is more of a fantastical realistic spoof on the slasher. This one takes much of the fantasy out and lets it be a tension filled take on The Home Invasion. Almost a Black Comedy in some moments, but otherwise it remains solid horror fare.

Credit should be given to the director, who met the writer on the film A Horrible Way to Die, then Auto Erotic – making their joint cinematic debut with this. Since then their careers seem intertwined.  The script informs the dialogue and scenes, but the director and actors inform the performance and staging. In this case the director does a fairly decent job of getting good performances from all actors involved.

While the cast for the family and invaders is fairly significant for the horror film with roughly 14 between them it is still fairly easy to follow. There are of course notables. Nicholas Tucci (no relation to Stanley) as Felix tends to catch the eye and plays his scenes well. AJ Bowen’s Crispian is also fairly memorable through the film; and he himself seems to live for the horror genre with most of his films in that realm. The two biggest standouts are Wendy Glenn as Zee, who chews scenery fairly well and I find her quite interesting to watch, and Sharni Vinson as Erin. This is the one to watch. She seems to be the most intelligent of the bunch and consistently shows it with her reaction to the high stress situation. I want to see more of her in other films of a decent pedigree.

Within a horror movie technical perspective. There’s some creativity in the pain and death dealing. Nothing too horribly gory. Nothing too sickeningly bloody.  There’s a touch too much motion with the camera work that is designed to be disorienting and jarring for an emotional beat but really just ends up distracting and unnecessary.


I found myself surprisingly enjoying the film when I watched it. The counter horror movie programming that the film offers within the same genre is surprisingly well executed. Even to the last beat of the film.

If you haven’t seen it and enjoy the modern horror genres or home invasion style movies – I think you should give this one a shot.

If horror, blood, home invasion is not your thing – yeah. Dont watch it. You won’t like it. You won’t understand the jabs it does take at the genre because it isn’t your thing. Just give it a pass.

So despite a trailer fail, the movie is good. (total reverse of Clash of the Titans).

Tomorrow night is linked to October but way outside of the norm with the new release – Book of Life.






Darke Reviews | Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010)

This is one of the more recent films I am reviewing this month and was unfortunately only a direct to DVD release. Even with that it wasn’t advertised and hard to hear about if you don’t peruse movie insider sites. I happened to come across this one back in 2007 when Superman Returns was still in the popular conciousness and Brandon Routh was cast as the title character. It as also based on an Italian comic series which makes it one of the rare Horror comic adaptations.

There’s not much to say about director Kevin Munroe, who has mostly done video game work and the 2007 CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie; which will still likely be better than what Bay makes. For a rank amateur in the scheme of things he shows a surprising sense and appreciation of 1930’s and 40’s Noir films. He captured that pulp feel that came with the Private Dick character type and executed it better than most directors who have tried it. Rian Johnson’s “Brick” being one of the few exceptions.

The writing deserves some credit as well, a two writing team who tend to work together on other projects as well. Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, also responsible for A Sound of Thunder and the new Conan movie; with rumored work on Doctor Strange coming. While the dialogue and scenes aligned in the script are not particularly inventive, they don’t have to be to be entertaining. They found a way to blend humor, pulp and horror into a single film and do it well. The abomination that was RIPD this summer needed to use Dylan Dog as a basis. It may not have been an abyssmally horrific film had they even watched DD.

The story moves around a Private Investigator named Dylan Dog (Routh), a human who was once a mediator and policeman for the supernatural creatures of New Orleans. He gave up the game and became a normal P.I. His time away could not last as his assistant Marcus (Sam Huntington – Fanboys, Being Human (U.S.)) gets him into a case trying to solve the murder of the father of beautiful Elizabeth (Anita Briem – The Tudors). He finds himself thrust into the world once more and is forced to confront the monsters of his past, both literal and figurative. The vampires of New Orleans are lead by Vargas (Taye Diggs – Chicago, Private Practice) while the Werewolves are lead by Gabriel (Peter Stormare – a lot!). Can he uncover the mystery of the killer and solve the case and maybe save the world of monsters & men.

Routh is an absolute natural in the film who comes across as a man who truly was part of the supernatural world for many years. He handles every situation with a kind of Laissez-faire or Blase attitude while those around him, especially Huntington, react the way normal people do. Even the delivery of his voice over lines that add to the pulpy detective feel show a keen attention to the nature of the role. He almost seems to channel Bogarts style of “I’ve seen it all” as he goes through the investigation. Even his questioning of Digg’s Vargas, may read as flat to others, but is spot on for the character he is playing. I really think he deserves more work than he gets and that he has a fine sense of timing that is under rated. I also can’t deny seeing him topless a few times isn’t bad on the eyes.

The rest of the cast is fine as well with Huntington providing a humorous counter balance to the dry wit of Routh. Stormare as always is just damn entertaining to watch, his Lucifer in COnstantine is amazing, but he sadly does not get enough screen time. Diggs is a beautiful man and just seems to relish in every aspect of the role he is given. Briem perhaps is one of the flatest performances in the film, but they can’t all be perfect.

As far as the effects and other technicals such as Make up the film does the subjects justice. The weakest effect is the final creature where they depended on CG for a transformation. The rest of the film has some pretty solid Make up work and practical effects. Once again this proves practical is greater than digital when possible.

For the TL;DR crew….

I highly recommend this noir story. It is suitable for people who are squeamish about their horror and has just enough monsters and mystery for everyone else. The movie is not nearly well known enough and I found it rather entertaining.

Thats the key here, it is entertaining. So check out Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, I think you might be a fan.
Tomorrow’s review will warn you to stay off the moors (this is an easy hint!)