Jan 11, 2019
Hello film fans!
Andrew here, back with another film that debuted at Fantastic Fest here in Austin, Texas. This week’s movie made its world premiere just this past September at a midnight showing. As you might guess, the midnight timeslot is typically where you find the less cerebral, lower budget, often gorier fare. Being relegated to playing that late in the night doesn’t mean a film won’t be good, just well suited toward an audience that may be feeling a bit groggy or buzzed after a long day of film-festing. If you have the stamina to maximize your movie mileage, you can feast your eyes on up to five films per day for a full week and change. While I have never clocked five in a single day, I did pace myself so I could catch a handful of these midnighters with a rowdier, punch-drunk crowd.
Today’s movie is “You Might Be the Killer”, the slasher comedy written by Thomas Vitale, Brett Simmons & Covis Berzoyne and directed by Brett Simmons. The film follows affable Sam (Fran Kranz) who runs a summer camp that might as well sit across the water from Camp Crystal Lake. Sam jolts from a blackout while running through the woods, locks himself in a cabin and calls his best friend Chuck (Alyson Hannigan) because someone is butchering the camp counselors and, you’ll never believe this, he thinks he might be the killer.
The kinetic energy with which the film begins is exactly the right tone for this type of film. You’re thrust into the middle of the action; the kids have all gone home and camp counselors are running around in abject terror. There’s no real need to get to know any of these characters who are clearly destined for their own, unique grisly ends. Unfortunately, the pace soon slows to a crawl. We get the occasional flashback to events that took place over the prior weeks, with lame dialogue that feels a bit like “Wet Hot American Summer”, but without the tongue-in-cheek humor. The primary device of this story is a series of phone conversations between our protagonist and possible serial killer, Sam, and his friend, Chuck. As Chuck, Alyson Hannigan takes on the Jamie Kennedy role from “Scream”, deconstructing the slasher film genre and helping Sam determine if he is committing these murders as bodies continue to pile up.
Now apparently, this film originated from a lengthy, impromptu 2017 Twitter exchange between two of the writers, who came up with the plot of the film in real time, mirroring the Sam/Chuck dynamic from the film. The concept is strong, but the film’s execution (as well as some of the on-screen executions) is just not all that compelling. One of the better elements of the film is the body count tally that occasionally flashes full-screen, reminding us of the score. But as the number grows, the story gets repetitive with the plot inching forward. Fran Kranz does his best as the dopey lead, but lacks the charisma to carry the film. Meanwhile, Alyson Hannigan remains charming as ever as the empathetic friend navigating Sam through his gruesome mystery while clerking at a comic book shop.
What makes “You Might Be the Killer” (2018) fantastic?
The hook here is the subversion of the “final girl” horror film trope that is nearly as old as the genre itself. In this movie, our “final girl” is not only male, but he might also be the killer from whom he is fleeing. Unfortunately, the film delivers so much clunky exposition that any further plot twists are visible from miles away. Without giving away the ending, like many films built around a clever plot device this one fails to stick the landing.
“You Might Be the Killer” (2018) is meta-comedy, satirizing the slasher film in a way that horror enthusiasts may enjoy. Fans of meta-horror films, such as “Scream” or “The Final Girls”, might dig this one. And fans of Alyson Hannigan from her “Buffy” and “How I Met Your Mother” days will appreciate seeing her on-screen again.
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
One Movie Punch: 6.4/10
“You Might Be the Killer” (2018) is not rated and is currently streaming on Shudder.
Come back next week when I’ll be reviewing “Bodied”, the 2017 Fantastic Fest Audience Award winner. I guarantee you have never seen a film quite like this comedic social commentary that takes a look at modern cultural sensitivity through battle rap. Prepare to be entertained, offended, and challenged.