M.L. Miller here! Because you and I love the horror so much, I’ve decided to post a “Worth Noting” pick along with each of my Horror Countdown choices each day through October. The same rules apply. The film must have been released before September 30th, 2019 to the masses (no festival picks). This means that is available to view in theaters, On Demand, DVD/BluRay, or digital download. I’ve tried to indicate in the reviews how you can watch and enjoy these films.
How did I compile this list? Horror is such a broad and varied genre that sometimes, while these choices may not represent the best—something about the film is worth taking notice. Some of these films have similar themes to their counterparts in the main countdown. Some just missed the countdown by an inch or two. Others were just squozed in because there’s nothing like them out there. Others because they have been made available for the first time. One way or another, it’s more horror to enjoy!
I hope you’ll join me daily and don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Worth Noting – YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER!
For those who like some comedy with their horror comes the fun riff off of the FRIDAY THE 13TH films, YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER. This is a pretty fun romp and does a great homage to those old slasher films of the 80’s without making fun of them. It’s in the same kind of vein as the excellent THE FINAL GIRLS from a few years ago. Released on SHUDDER on December 4, 2018, here’s my review of YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER! Available on SHUDDER!
YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER (2018)
Directed by Brett Simmons
Written by Covis Berzoyne, Brett Simmons, Thomas P. Vitale
Starring Fran Kranz, Alyson Hannigan, Brittany S. Hall, Jenna Harvey, Bryan Price, Patrick R. Walker, Jack Murillo, Sara Catherine Bellamy, Savannah DesOrmeaux, Carol Jean Wells, Peter Jaymes Jr., Olivia Jaye Brown, Jesse Gallegos, Clara Chong, Isaiah LaBorde, Keith David
Going meta is a dangerous thing to do in horror. The genre requires one to suspend disbelief quite a bit in order to believe in slashers that withstand all kinds of bodily harm, otherworldly menaces, and dark monstrosities from the dankest corners of one’s psyche. Horror fans also have to put up with a lot of criticism leveled towards their favorite genre. It’s often seen as a lowest common denominator type of entertainment, and not as valid as more socially acceptable genres. For this reason, they tend to be somewhat defensive when someone swirls the microscope onto horror tropes because, more times than not, these views on the genre are laughing at the genre rather than with it. I feel the former applies to the SCREAM films, which sort of poked fun at the films it was meta-ing (makin’ up words is cool!), while films like CABIN IN THE WOODS, the recent THE FINAL GIRLS, and the subject of today’s review, YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER, are sharing the love and the laughter with all of its fans.
As YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER opens, we see Franz Kranz’s Sam frantically sprinting away from some kind of threat in the woods. We are quickly caught up when Sam dials his best friend Chuck (Alyson Hannigan) and explains that he is in a camp in the woods and a whole lot of camp counsellors have been killed. As the conversation goes on, both Sam and Chuck attempt to put the night together as Sam is having blackouts and his memory is a bit fuzzy, especially regarding his dead counselor friends and how they came to be perished. But the more details revealed, the more the culprit of the murders seems to be Sam himself. Is Sam the killer or is there something more insidious going on?
What I love about YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER is that it feels like it is sitting right next to you enjoying the show as it unfolds. It’s proudly a bloody slasher film and never really makes fun of the genre as much as it identifies the tropes, yet still makes these tropes interesting to watch. While this horror comedy favors the comedy side, there are some moments of real tension, backed up by some pretty intense and splooshy gore spattered here there and everywhere. Never does this film feel as if it is disrespecting the slasher genre. The threat is real, and the people involved are conscious of the horrifying situation they are in, but do not deflate the tension by quipping the whole time or making fun of what should be a pretty horrific situation. It doesn’t feel like the filmmakers feel as if they are better than the genre they are dissecting and examining here, which makes it all the more fun to watch.
Franz Kranz is a talented comedic actor, but also has shown some chops with more serious roles such as his work on DOLL HOUSE (which I feel was a gem of a series full of talented actors and fantastic moments). Here he conveys the desperation of his situation, all the while never forgetting to add in some physicality to his performance to make it slapstick at times. There are moments here that feel as if Kranz is channeling Bruce Campbell from EVIL DEAD 2, and he does so straddling both the comedic and horrific aspects of the story. The film rests on Kranz’s shoulders and he carries the film with ease, understanding the level of comedy needed to lighten the situation, as well as the level of understanding that there are dire consequences at stake here. It’s a more nuanced role than one would expect, but Kranz juggles this duality easily.
Most horror comedies are either more horror or more comedy. It’s very rare that you find that even blend. YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER felt like one of those even blends to me. The gore and high stakes make the whole thing work on a horror level. Still, this is a damn funny movie and I found myself do-si-doing, both laughing and gasping in even increments. I don’t know when the last time I did that. Maybe CABIN IN THE WOODS or last year’s gorefest TONIGHT SHE COMES. Still, YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER is a special treat that I think horror fans will devour proudly. Be sure to check this one out, slasher-freaks!
WORTH NOTING SO FAR…
YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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