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The World’s End

You’re Next

August 29, 2013

The World’s End (***)

The World’s End is supposedly the final installment in a trilogy of films crafted by the acting/writing team of Simon Pegg/Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright. As for Pegg and Frost, the film is at least the fourth project they’ve both penned and acted in, with their last effort being the superb 2011 film Paul.  Their other films are the cult classic, Shaun of the Dead and the buddy-cop film parody Hot Fuzz. Wright was MIA on Pegg and Frost’s last film, presumably due to his directing duties on the big screen adaptation of Scott Pilgrim VS. The World. Wright’s stylishly guiding hand is much in evidence in The World’s End, especially during the film’s fantastic first act or so. The film, like some of the director’s other works, does fizzle out a bit during the final section but that’s a small price to pay in exchange for the many joys it has to offer.

The World’s End starts out promisingly in a terrific opening sequence narrated by the film’s protagonist, Gary King (Pegg), a man whose life in the years of his youth yielded much promise. Now Gary’s life has been reduced to days spent in a rehab facility and yearning for those days of long ago.

An alien takeover colors a pub crawl’s meaning in The World’s End

We are introduced to Gary by getting a look at his past life and how his youthful goal was to make the rounds to all 12 bars in his hometown in a massive one-night pub-crawl that would ultimately lead to a watering hole known as The World’s End.

Gary never accomplished that goal some twenty plus years ago, although he came close. Now he’s decided the time is ripe to get his old gang of friends back together and try it once again. His buddies, Andy (Frost), Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), and Steven (Paddy Considine) have moved on to some semblance of adulthood and the thought of joining Gary for a night of drunken debauchery isn’t the most appealing thing on their respective plates. Once Gary convinces the gang to come along, they soon discover that no one recognizes them, the reason being that the town has been taken over by aliens. It’s up to Gary and the gang to both save the world and make it to The World’s End.

The World’s End does have some problems in its final act but there’s much to like about the journey getting there. The thing I really liked was the sense of humanity that flows throughout. We empathize with Gary and feel the pain of this man who somehow lost his compass on the pathway of life. If we haven’t been that guy at some point or another, most of us know someone like him. For me that was enough reason to embrace Gary’s journey with his pals.

You’re Next (** ½)

A friend of mine recently suggested that director Adam Wingard’s film You’re Next is, above all, a female empowerment film. After chewing on that insight for a bit, I think she may be on to something.  I will readily admit, though, that the term ‘female empowerment film’ was not something I was expecting to ascribe to the pic when going into it. Still, one cannot overlook the fact that You’re Next does have a very well written female character at its center. That’s definitely something that one doesn’t get much of an opportunity to see in films billing themselves as part of the modern horror genre. It’s only one of several things the film has going for it, even if that can’t save it from its own formulaic conventions.

If I were asked to describe You’re Next, which is what I suppose you want me to do since you’re reading this review, I would have to say that it feels like a cross between a torture-porn styled horror film and an Agatha Christie mystery. Sort of like Saw meets Ten Little Indians.

You’re Next: not the usual horror flick

The setting of the film is a 35th wedding anniversary of upper class couple, Paul (Rob Moran) and Audrey (Barbara Crampton of the cult horror film Re-Animator). Paul and Audrey have invited their four grown offspring and significant others to help celebrate at their secluded country home but their festivities are interrupted by several masked intruders who attempt to kill off the partygoers one by one. At first it seems that it’s a random attack, but as the film rolls on and plot complications ensue, it becomes apparent that this may not be the case. You’re Next is a film that benefits from the element of surprise and bearing that in mind, I will say no more. Suffice it to say that the character of Erin (Sharni Vinson), who is the date of Audrey and Paul’s son, Crispian (A.J. Bowen), turns out to be one tough, butt-kicking chick and her performance lifts the film out of the familiar on more than one occasion.

You’re Next definitely has some issues. As I mentioned, it does suffer from a feeling of been there, done that and it also is a little sluggish during its first quarter. Once things get going the film becomes somewhat more compelling and there’s a nifty ending that was a bit of surprise. You’re Next may not be the most engrossing horror movie experience of the year but one could certainly do a lot worse.

Both movies are at the Carmike in Hickory and elsewhere in NC.

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