Sunday, May 29, 2016

Our Slasher Valedictorian: Most Likely to Die (2016)

Most Likely to Die (2016)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Chad Addison, Jake Busey, Tess Christiansen

Somewhere in an isolated vacation house, a group of then-classmates are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their high school graduation, recalling hockey games, academics, and pranks. However, one particular prank appears to have marked them for death as its victim, a bullied teenager, was expelled from their school after attempting to get even with his tormentors. None of them ever heard of or seen him again, but his vengeance seems to have found a way on getting back at these friends as a masked killer in a toga and a razor sharp graduate cap is out to get them one by one.

Directed by Anthony DiBlasi of 2009's Dread and the 2014 sleeper creeper Last Shift, Most Likely To Die is a one note horror movie that virtually resembles nothing more than a late 80s/early 90s slashers which is, in my opinion, a passable effort.

Frankly, I like it. I want to love it but I can tell it hadn't done enough to actually earn said love. Taking some cues from Slaughter High and a bit of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, Most Likely to Die has a relatively familiar ring to many other bullied-gets-even slasher flicks of the most formulaic level, sticking to rules such as the entire place must take place at a zero reception zone, former bullies and/or pranksters have an equal chance of being the killer, people trysting are deserving of death, and guns couldn't hit the killer even if they are at least 5 feet away.

The movie, with its obvious simplicity and familiarity to the sub-genre's tropes, can be best described as a sort of tribute to the golden age of slashers, with a little post modern touch and a few interesting notes that stand out, such as the killer's awesome get-up, a unique murder weapon, and a small yet increasingly gory kill count that's bound to satisfy a horror hound's bloodlust.

I will admit, however, that more could have been done here; while one or two moments were fairly thrilling, the entirety of the film  felt grounded, as in there are a lot of scenes wherein characters simply stand or sit around, discussing their next move or contemplating about the killer's identity. This should not be a problem if these scenes were better acted and written, or if the film tried keeping the momentum increasingly hectic the further the plot goes, but with most of the action occurring around the house and steadily leading to a last act that takes the easy route of just having the killer monologue while waving a gun at what's left of the group, it's easy to notice that the movie was working on a budget and one would wonder how better it could have been with the proper funding.

And speaking of a monologuing killer, the reveal actually ruined the experience further enough to knock a positive rating or two. Without spoiling much, their motive was pretty uninspired and unnecessarily complicated, and though I can see where they are coming from, I believe there (as mentioned prior) could have been a better way to deliver this bad news to what remains of the cast. Instead, it took a while, looks pretty desperate and the killer gets bumped off too easily.

However, we did get this last minute reveal that both answers some plot holes and opens more questions as well as a possible sequel, so I guess here's hoping DeBlasi and co. can do next time? Maybe. Maybe not. Hopefully, should it ever happen, they can do something much fresher for our classic slasher plot than just dressing up their killer in a cool suit and giving him a rad murder weapon. For now Most Likely to Die gets my approval as a fair throwback slasher and recommendable for those looking for a horror quickie with nice kills and a passable entertainment value.

Not exactly the best , but fair nonetheless.

1 female had her throat slashed offcamera
1 male strangled with a rope
1 female stabbed on the head with a razor graduate cap, throat slashed
1 female had her throat sliced with a thrown razor graduate cap, head torn off
1 female shot on the chest
1 male gets a hockey stick shoved down his throat, neck sliced open with a box cutter
1 male shot dead
Total: 7

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