Monday, October 31, 2016

Superlative Slaughter

I know the pain of high school is one of pop culture's most fertile wells, but I still don't quite get the obsession. I was a chubby, nerdy, flute playing drama club participating badminton playing National Honor Society treasurer who loved horror movies and yet I can't point to one moment where I felt targeted by the cheerleaders and quarterbacks. On the flip side, I don't ever recall setting up the kind of prank that would break a teenager's psyche and send such an outcast down a deadly spiral of vengeance.

Perhaps that's a good thing, since it means I'll never end up in a slasher.

Quick Plot: A gaggle of mostly attractive 28-year-olds are assembling for their ten-year high school reunion. Hosting the pre-gaming is Ryan, a professional hockey player who was just released from his contract by the NY Rangers. When his girlfriend Ashley arrives at his empty coastal mansion to cheer him up, she ends up murdered in a method that brings her high school superlative to life: most likely to end up with her name in lights.

Though Ryan is missing, the rest of his pals obliviously assemble to drink beer, play in a hot tub, and spend a lot of time using poker as a metaphor. Millennials truly are the worst.

As the night goes on, our gang of extremely attractive (and Perez Hilton) victims-to-be discover someone--most likely the outcast whom they bullied into oblivion--is on the hunt, taking each one down with some sort of cute wordplay on their senior year fame.

Most Likely to Die is essentially a 21st century take on Slaughter High. Considering nearly 80% of slashers get their start from a bullied weirdo delivering comeuppance, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that in concept and in the case of this film, execution. It's perfectly fine.

That's not necessarily the glowing endorsement I was hoping to have. Headed by Glee's secret weapon Heather Morris, the cast is (with one obvious exception) better than average, and we even get Jake Busey in the role of, well, essentially, Gary Busey. The violence finds a good balance between wackiness and realistic pain, and the pacing is done in just the right way.

But, well, I don't know. There's something lacking in Most Likely to Die, some spark or special tone to really make it pop.  As a mindless and slickly done slasher with some humor, it's absolutely solid entertainment. As a movie I'll remember two years from now, it's absolutely a movie I'll check Letterboxd to confirm that I watched.

High/Low Point Tie
On one hand, Perez Hilton is the worst thing in this movie. On the other, his lady screams are so perfectly shrill that they genuinely brighten the entire scene. We're calling this one a stalemate

Lessons Learned
You do not get laid by leading your girlfriend into opening a closet with precariously stacked items just waiting to tumble on her little blond head

The cure for a gushing stab wound is boiled water

Seriously, don't bully the awkward kid in high school. HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING?


If you're looking for a light-spirited throwback slasher, Most Likely to Die is more than adequate to pass the time. I can't quite put my finger on what's missing here, but it didn't charm me the way I was hoping. My pickiness aside, this is a perfectly fine modern horror film that may awaken your nostalgia for that tried and true subgenre of nerd vengeance. 

1 comment:

  1. I found there to be way too much talking and not nearly enough (or quick enough?) killin' and dyin' for my tastes. This one just left me frustrated!