[THS Review] You Might Be the Killer
Ok. It's the finale of a slasher. All of your friends are dead or missing. You're not sure. But you know the killer is out there. Maybe you cower in fear. Maybe you run. Maybe you fight. Or, if you are Sam ( Fran Kranz), you barricade yourself in a counselor's cabin, pull out your cell and call the one person who knows horror films by heart and call help you through this disaster.
That's right. You call Chuck.
If you're reading this review, chances are you're the Chuck (Alyson Hannigan) in your friend group. You know all the rules of slashers. You know all of the esoteric horror films. You're probably constantly being asked for horror recommendations. And so Chuck listens to Sam's story. Sam tells her about the killer. He sets up the cast of characters. He tells her the exact moment when the shit hits the fan. And he explains how many he thinks are dead.
"But why are you covered in blood?" Chuck wonders. Sam can't explain it, but Chuck can. Sam just might be the killer...
You Might Be the Killer was filmed in twelve days. It had a crazy quick turnaround from when it was initially thought up to when it was filmed, in order to get on the festival circuit. Honestly, it kind of shows. It’s a little rough around the edges. But it also possess a charm that was both nostalgic for the 1980s slasher heyday but also smart enough to dissect what made them work. Twitter fans might be familiar with this particular story, as well, because it’s based on a improv tweet exchange between Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes. If you’ve read that exchange, you pretty much know where this movie is going. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d recommend not reading it before you see the movie.
The story unfolds non-linearly, as the action crisscrosses between the present, when Sam is on the phone with Chuck trying to decipher what’s going on and what he should do, and the past events that lead up to this moment. It obviously starts at the beginning of the third act and then sets up the major plot points of a generic slasher. The bulk of the movie feels like a supercut of slasher films, as it doesn’t really focus on any character development, outside the lead, and instead just presents all of the money shots. Because of this, the movie is both inventive and unpredictable, but it also suffers from pacing issues. It’s difficult to build momentum when we’re constantly moving back to the beginning or re-examining events through a different lens; it sometimes feels like it’s constantly providing exposition.
Originally, the film was called Dead Counselors, a fact that is further exemplified as it keeps a running tally of how many are dead and alive at a specific time. It gets a little confusing, as it moves back and forth in time, between how many are dead and how many are alive at any given time. The kills are bloody and great and the audience cheer and gasped appropriately. And with the short turnaround, I was stunned at just how good the gore and practical effects were. The fact it looks as good as it does on what’s presumably a meager budget and definitely a short turnaround is testament to director Brett Simmons and his crew.
Ultimately, I had a lot of fun with You Might Be the Killer. Even though it felt rushed, you can feel the love that went into it. Both Alyson Hannigan and Fran Kranz give fun performances and the script by Covis Berzoyne, Brett Simmons and Thomas P. Vitale oftentimes rises above its source material as a Twitter convo. Fans of the 80s looking for slasher nostalgia will have a good time with this one.