Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Curious Case of A Camp Counselor: You Might Be The Killer (2018)

You Might Be The Killer (2018)
Rating: ****
Starring: Fran Kranz, Alyson Hannigan, Brittany S. Hall

Meta-slasher gets another contender in the form of this surprisingly enjoyable backwoods kill-a-thon (formerly a Twitter thread) starring Fran Kranz of Cabin In The Woods (2013) (another awesome meta-horror and probable companion piece to this flick, among many) as a hapless camp counselor in the middle of a classic forest-set cat-and-mouse chase with a masked maniac. Or is he?

Waking up blood-caked at night and surrounded by the bodies of his fellow Summer camp employees, Sam (Kranz) finds himself running and soon hiding in a barricaded cabin from a killer who's probably still out there, hacking up anyone at arm's length. Worse, however, is that he can't recall how any of this even started, so he dials up the only help he can get in a slasher situation: his bestfriend Chuck (Alyson Hannigan of the American Pie movies and Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV fame), who works behind the counter of Rings of Saturn, a local comic book shop and who's a happens to know a lot about horror cinema. Particularly the bodycounting kind.

Using her knowledge of tropes and cliches slasher movies are guilty of, Chuck asks Sam for as many details he can recall so she can piece things together and guide him out of this scary mess. From one flashback to the next, Sam's problem further worsens when everything that happens so far (and the matter of fact that he's in possession of a wooden mask and a bloodstained, gator jaw-adorned machete) all leads to the likeliest situation, much to his dismay: he might the killer.

Why and how is this movie's little mystery for us and, whilst the answer comes pretty quick (about twenty minutes or so into the film), the craziness of it all is just fun to watch thanks to the awesome chemistry of this movie's two main casts despite their characters' only interaction was through a phone call, as well as the non-linear flashbacks that help build the anticipation of what could come next and how all of this would end.

As a meta-slasher, jokey winks and nods are a plenty with You Might Be The Killer (2018) as it references its fellow slasher movies from the well known (Fred Krueger gets a name drop and Jason Voorhees' opening revival at Friday The 13th Part VI is suggested as a bright side for Sam. Come to think of it, Friday The 13th got a lot of love in this one!) to the obscure. (Maniac Cop (1988)'s titular killer gets his ugliness compared and I think they referenced either Basket Case (1982) or Sisters (1972) when they brought up a possible conjoined twin killer. That would have been terrible!) The killcount gets an onscreen scoreboard that's actually quite helpful in keeping us up with the flashbacks and the conventional plotting of the sub-genre gets criticized often in snide yet smart deliveries that carry the movie through, pointing out the flaws and improbabilities many horror characters make that are often overlooked for the sake of entertainment. (Not that said flaws and improbabilities are always an issue, mind you. They are, for most cases, what made the slasher sub-genre such a guilty pleasure to watch!)

Once in a while, the movie does subvert some expectations (most of it about Sam trying to survive being killed off himself from the very people he could have chopped to pieces), but at the very heart of it, You Might Be The Killer (2018) is a backwoods slasher and a decent one at that; the cursed mask campfire tale is a fair variation in the sense that instead of a killer being out haunting the woods, it's an object that has the power to possess and act out murder. It's a lore that isn't tackled much when it comes to slasher films so I'm all aboard this idea, especially when the resulting massacre is gory and savage fun, topping up a fairly hefty bodycount. The killer -or rather the evil mask- could have used some more work on its simplistic design as it look less like a wooden mask and more of something intentionally made out of resin fiberglass. Or painted vinyl.

After our main casts figure out what is happening and attempting to stop the mess while the survivor count is still passable, the last act of the film plays out the classic slasher final third wherein the final girl (or girls) gets chased and stalk before our unwilling killer gets one more chance to control himself. This is where the film falters for me as it slowly runs out of steam with the meta-humor and stretches out the final act in an intense yet overly foreshadowed conclusion. I guess I was looking for something out of the ordinary to keep in tone with the movie's strange yet welcoming diverted story, but at the least the bittersweet last minute twist saved the film for me and honestly put a sincere smile on my face.

Ultimately, this is a slasher feature two-people act with Kranz and Hannigan powering through to the end with their comic charisma. You Might Be the Killer (2018) is still flawed with it lacking much development for the rest of the casts, some of the jokes falling flat and, worse of all, suffering from a weak final act, but looking at the bigger picture, its bloody machete is in the right place and does well enough to be quick and quippy. Packed with classic backwoods slasher tropes and well-timed comedy, this is very much a worthy watch for casual and hardcore fans of summer camp massacres. Don't miss out on this one.

1 male ran through the gut with a gator jaw machete
1 female had her throat cut with a gator jaw machete
1 male hacked with a gator jaw machete, gutted
1 male had his head chopped in half with a gator jaw machete
1 female drowned in a pool
1 male impaled through the chest with a gator jaw machete
1 female had her neck repeatedly crushed with a refrigerator door
1 female stabbed with a gator jaw machete
1 female decapitated with a gator jaw machete
1 male had his arms lopped off with a gator jaw machete, stabbed
1 female had her face repeatedly hacked with a shovel
1 male stabbed on the gut with a gator jaw machete
Total: 12


  1. I thought this was a very fresh take on the slasher subgenre. Definitely enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Really loved Hannigan here. Solid review :)

    1. The scoreboard bodycount really got me laughing most of the time, just as how much Hannigan's casual responses did.

      "Oooh, you chopped his head in half?"

    2. Also, I'm glad my site was able to help you from time to time on your horror viewings! 8) Happy to know and keep up the fun reviews, too!