You Might Be the Killer peters out long before it reaches its less-than-memorable closing stretch

You Might Be the Killer: Another ’80s slasher homage. I never really thought this trend was a good idea–it’s too easy for the nostalgia humor, the “MST3K but not as clever” humor, to become an excuse not to make a good movie.

You Might Be the Killer is especially disappointing because its setup has so much potential for real emotional punch. It could be The Final Girls; instead it’s, idk, Scream 7 or something. This was very much a minority opinion at the screening I attend, but I gotta do me.

And you’ll see why I want more when I tell you the idea behind the movie: A guy (Fran Kranz) calls his slasher-knowledgeable BFF (Alyson Hannigan) to beg for her help, because a killer is stalking the counselors at the summer camp where he works. Slowly it emerges that he himself is the killer, even though he doesn’t remember it. In the midst of his grief and guilt he has to decide whether he’ll try to survive, or accept the death that comes (temporarily, anyway) to all mask movie murderers.

Have you ever woken up with a really, really bad hangover? The kind where you’re pretty sure you did something awful, where you’re piecing together clues from the wreckage scatter around you and the messages on your voicemail? Have you ever had people tell you that you did something appalling, and you’ve had to try to convey that you are just as horrify by your behavior as they are but you really don’t remember it?

Yeah. If you made me a horror-comedy about that, if you dug real deep into that awful feeling and its relentless consequences, I’d wrap myself around your movie like an octopus made of guilty love.

Instead we get a slight movie where the cutesy touches (the recurring count of “dead counselors”) undercut the potential reckoning with reality, and where nobody seems to feel anything very deeply. The worst part is this: Okay, so the killer kills because he pick up and wore a possess wooden mask–a mask which he knew was possess, because it’s a family legend.

If you want a blunt metaphor for substance abuse–a family legacy of becoming a terrible person due to your choice to interact with a material object!–you can hardly do better. And obviously everybody asks the guy, Why on earth did you put the mask on?! This is also a familiar reaction and a thing lots of Us (for certain humiliated values of “us”) have ask ourselves.

But he didn’t!!! He didn’t ever choose to put the mask on at any point. It was force onto his face by, get this hot garbage, an evil seductress. Thanks that’s cool, you could have made a movie about the genuine tragedy of a man realizing he’s become an abuser (you could have made a comedy about that!), and instead you totally made a movie about how a man’s violence is a woman’s fault.

You Might Be the Killer peters out long before it reaches its less-than-memorable closing stretch.

The end result is an endeavor that could only have work as an installment within a horror-theme anthology, as there’s simply not enough material here to sustain a full-length running time.

A Field Guide to Evil: Fun anthology of international horror shorts. Gorgeous opening credits, great spooky music, unsurprisingly-uneven films. I think the decision to start each one with an opening “entry” from the titular field guide was a mistake, since it push some shorts in a didactic and moralizing direction (especially the first one) and in general felt like unnecessary hand-holding. There’s a cool black & white short with a strong “Indian Lovecraft” flavor, and a deeply weird Greek tale of a demon who walks among men, which includes a seriously disturbing parody-Eucharist.

The first film is beautifully-shot but its underlying (or overlying–I don’t get the impression that the filmmakers value subtlety) message is that Christianity is evil.

That would be more persuasive if the specific situation depict felt more ground in historical reality: Maybe I’m wrong and this totally happen, but I don’t think medieval Austrians would have consider two women kissing on the lips to be sinful. Premodern same-sex kissing in general, and women’s same-sex physical intimacy specifically, rarely had the sexual connotations we’d see today.

Anyway, obviously small Christian communities have frequently oppress women (hey here’s a horror story for you). But it’s hard to believe in that story when it begins with something that feels so off-base. And so colored by modern obsessions and prejudices.

Slice: Pleasant, slight horror-comedy about a small city where the local ghost population basically functions as an oppress minority. Bright colors, cool clothes; a great setting (a pizza-delivery company where the drivers greet nervous late-night customers with the brilliant motto. “Relax! It’s Perfect Pizza”) which allows a lot of genuine working-class warmth and solidarity; some very 2018 (intentionally-)disingenuous rhetoric. That about the evils of capitalism; no actual point (which is fine). And a resolution that happens much too quickly and easily.

INFO:

Rating: NR
Genre: Horror
Directed By: Brett A. Simmons
Stars: Fran Kranz, Alyson Hannigan, Brittany S. Hall
Written By: Brett A. Simmons
On Disc/Streaming: Dec 4, 2018
Runtime: 88 minutes
Studio: Curmudgeon Films

CRITIC REVIEWS FOR YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER

Matt Donato
Brett Simmons’ You Might Be The Killer is not Cabin In The Woods 2.0, but that doesn’t stop stay-up-late genre manipulation from scoring uptempo campfire thrills.

Carolyn Mauricette
There were some cute moments, but overall, the film was far too broad, and I felt at one point it could better serve as an interactive stage play with its over the top physicality and splatter count.

Kimberley Elizabeth
Every scene we’re reminded that Cabin in the Woods exists, and that we should go watch it. Perhaps instead.

Joe Lipsett
Ultimately You Might Be The Killers overstays its welcome and sputters to a (foregone) conclusion that relies too much on unearned audience investment in secondary characters who are little more than types.

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