Review Roundup: ‘The World’s End,’ ‘You’re Next’

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The World’s End

Studio-Provided Plot Synopsis: The third installment of director Edgar Wright’s trilogy of comedies starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, following the successes Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). In The World’s End, 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub – The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries.

My Thoughts: I hate that promotional materials are referring to this as the third part of a trilogy, for one reason and one reason alone: I want more of these collaborations. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and their cohorts are in fine form here, a decade removed from their first film collaboration. I can’t think of another comedy that I’ve seen this year where I’ve felt the need to watch it again because of the laughter from the audience. I can’t blame them – I was laughing alongside them. The film’s turn into a science fiction comedy as the film progresses helps establish it as a comedy set within a different genre, just as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz did with the zombie and buddy cop themes. The cast is pitch-perfect, the special effects are solid, and the film leaves you wanting a bit more. I can’t complain about anything here. This is easily one of the best films of the year, and it’s worth multiple viewings at that.

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You’re Next

Studio-Provided Plot Synopsis: One of the smartest and most terrifying films in years, 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.

My Thoughts: One of my favorite films last year was Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s send-up of the horror genre, The Cabin in the Woods. While You’re Next doesn’t have the same approach, it similarly honors and freshens up the genre. If the former film was a send-up of current horror films, though, You’re Next draws inspiration more from the now-dated horror films of the 70s and 80s. The acting is intentionally over-the-top, filled with nearly every character making at least one decision that falls into what I like to call the “stupid white people making stupid decisions” trap that many horror films contain. Here, though, these decisions are played with a wink to the audience. The biggest key to the film’s success, though, may be the lead performance by Sharni Vinson as the newest member of the extended family. In the hands of another actress, I can see this role going over the top. Vinson manages to ground it enough where it’s easy to accept that she grew up in a survivalist group in Australia. In a year that’s contained a surprising amount of solid horror films, You’re Next may be one of the best. For fans of the genre, it’s worth the price of admission.

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