“You’re Next” was so widely touted as the next big thing in horror that some pundits even predicted it would be the No. 1 movie at the box office this weekend. Instead, it debuted modestly, all the way down in seventh place, with just an estimated $ 7.1 million.
What went wrong? Here are some possible answers:
Hype: Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett had made the acclaimed indie horror film “A Horrible Way to Die,” and their “You’re Next” had been impressing critics for two years on the festival circuit. So despite the movie’s lack of star power, it was a known quantity, at least within the industry. For all the movie’s advance buzz and positive reviews, it played only so-so with audiences, who gave it only a B- at CinemaScore, indicating weak word-of-mouth. It’s pretty rare for a horror movie to do better with critics than audiences, but that’s what seems to have happened here.
Competition: “You’re Next” had the misfortune of opening the same weekend as “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.” Which isn’t a conventional horror film (it’s more horror/fantasy/adventure, like “Twilight”), but which appeals to the same young female audience as most horror flicks. Given a choice between a movie with some minor stars, based on a best-selling series of books, and one with a more obscure pedigree, young women went for the former. Besides, “Mortal Instruments” earned a B+ at CinemaScore, so viewers were recommending it more avidly than “You’re Next.” As a result, “Mortal Instruments” debuted at No. 4 with an estimated $ 9.3 million.
Timing: The weekend before Labor Day has long been a good one for horror movies, from the “Jeepers Creepers” to “Final Destination” franchises. But this summer, the market may already have been saturated with innovative horror movies, from “The Purge” to “The Conjuring” (which is still doing well, having amassed $ 131.8 million over the last six weeks). Maybe the right time for an movie like “You’re Next” would have been in March or April; it’s innovations would have been more apparent if only it had come out sooner.
Gallery | 9 Creepy Country Homes from the Movies
- ‘The Others’ (2001)
The country home off the French coast in Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Others” is not only made spooky by its ghosts. Hidden deep in the forest, the Stewart residence is invisible from its front gate, shrouded by a thick endless fog and tall skinny trees. This is definitely not the most ideal place to get lost in, as Nicole Kidman’s Grace does as she stumbles upon her believed-to-be-dead husband.
- ‘Psycho’ (1960)
Everything about Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is chilling, from Janet Leigh’s alarmed eyebrows to Anthony Perkins’s sinister smile. But the Bates Motel isn’t the creepiest residence of this iconic thriller; it’s the Bates’s home, which towers behind it. Not only is it the only house around for miles (never good), it’s far from the main highway and gets no visitors, (really not good). As if that weren’t enough to pique your nerves, Hitchcock turns up the creepiness by revealing Perkins’s Norman dresses up as his deceased mother around the house.
- ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (2003)
Of course Leatherface’s Texas farmhouse is terrifying because he lives there, but even without the masked murderer the giant mansion is as eerie as ever. In every “Texas Chainsaw” film the house is depicted similarly, located far from town off an old empty road and tucked behind fields of tall grass. When the traveling teens arrive at the farmhouse it’s always seemingly empty, but there’s that nerve-tingling sense that it’s still lived in; those long front pillars and the empty gaps along the balcony just scream sinister. All we’re saying is this isn’t a house we’d gladly stop by on our road trip, even if we ran out of gas.
- ‘Rebecca’ (1940)
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…” Joan Fontaine’s character says dreamily as Hitchcock’s camera trails through the winding driveway up to the Manderley mansion. Maxim de Winter’s (Laurence Olivier) English countryside home in the 1940 thriller was once a beautiful, elegant mansion, but in the film’s opening we see it decaying in the midnight shadows. While it’s never made explicit that the ghost of Mr. de Winter’s former wife, Rebecca, haunts the halls of the mansion, there is always a tense, eerie feeling conveyed within its walls. Hitchcock manages to make this one of the scariest movie houses where nothing scary actually happens — it is just it’s mysterious presence that makes us squirm. (Skip to 1:39)
- ‘The Changeling’ (1980)
The house George C. Scott’s John Russell moves to in “The Changeling” may be haunted by a ghost, but it’s the house that allows the torment to become so terrifying. The old Victorian mansion in Seattle is tucked away from the main road, residing behind leafless tall trees, and covered in growing vines (always a sign of creepiness). Once John starts experiencing weird occurrences, it is the combination of the old creaky house and the angry ghost that make this home one you’ll want to escape ASAP. The giant wooden doors slam, the windows shatter, things tumble down the long dark stairway, and, worst of all, there’s that thundering banging against the ancient walls.
- ‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)
While Xanadu isn’t exactly a country home, it is a remote mansion that, after Charles Foster Kane’s (Orsen Welles) death, becomes a decrepit, unfinished estate. Once a lavish palace on its own private mountain, Xanadu was the center of every newsreel and tourist stop, equipped with enough art for 10 museums, a zoo, a golf course, and Venetian canals. Take all that fabulous excess and let it decay for years until the cobwebs and crows cover the wealth with sadness, and you’ll get one creepy home.
- ‘The Skeleton Key’ (2005)
A remote plantation home deep in the bayous of Louisiana doesn’t sound like a place we’re necessarily dying to visit (no pun intended). With an appearance similar to the tall sinister columns of the “Texas Chainsaw” farmhouse, this mansion automatically evokes bad vibes. When Kate Hudson’s Caroline moves into it in the film, it becomes all the more creepy as she discovers witchcraft paraphernalia and potions in the attic. We don’t care how cheap the rent is, this dark magic manor is not worth hanging around, as Caroline soon comes to discover.
- ‘The Shining’ (1980)
OK, we know The Overlook Hotel isn’t exactly a “country home,” but it is a remote lodge that is creepy as hell. Probably one of the most unsettling, hair-raising buildings in movie existence, the isolated hotel that Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance goes crazy in has every creepy feature you can think of. From the long, narrow hallways with that unforgettable patterned carpet, to the disturbing emerald walls of Room 237, to, of course, that insane maze. Oh and did we mention it’s built on Native American burial ground and that the previous caretaker slaughtered his family there? Why would anyone want to stay at The Overlook, much less be its new caretaker? This fake promo video is just enough to keep us driving past it.
- ‘The Strangers’ (2008)
Just like in the latest home invasion horror “You’re Next,” random killers decide to kill the innocent people they do for two reasons: they’re staying in a secluded country house and, as the masked killers in “The Strangers” say, “Because you were home.” The thing that makes this old vacation home even more unsettling is that creepy Bluegrass song that keeps playing over and over. If you’re going to the country, next time bring some upbeat pop.
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