Slasher films have become a cult phenomenon having created its own sub culture within the horror genre. With such classic hits like Friday the 13th and Halloween in their roster how couldn’t it? Scream revitalized the interest in slasher films in the 1990s and to this day Western horror has at times managed to obtain a strange fascination with it. I say strange because we haven’t gotten many good slasher films in the 21st century. More often than not they are either good ideas with poor execution…or schlocky and cheaply made write-offs. Most Likely to Die had that type of write-off vibe to it that when I came across it I needed to add it to the roulette for this section. Of course Hostel, Eden Lake or The House of the Devil were in there as well, yet fate decided to deal me this hand. I quickly came to realize how wrong I was for including it.
Most Likely to Die follows a group of adults who are meeting up before their high school reunion. All of them were of course on the yearbook committee, despite most of them probably never would have talked as they seemed to be in entirely different social circles. Ah the case of happenstance! In the past they thought it would be a funny idea if they put in the yearbook, most likely to die for a social outcast. This of course wasn’t enough and he was soon expelled due to the humiliation pushing him too far. Now someone is hunting them down with, and I kid you not, a razor sharp graduation cap and plans to recreate their captions in the yearbook to a T. This sounds like a recipe for disaster, and there is no sugar-coating it…this film is poorly made all around.
This cast of characters are so thinly made and spout so much exposition, that at times I wonder whether or not I am watching the most poorly written soap opera I have ever seen. This is only accentuated by some of the poor performances, and yes you didn’t see that incorrectly. Perez Hilton is in this movie and to his credit…wasn’t the worst actor there, just had very badly directed scenes. Some of his scenes are more shoved in like him talking to someone about his alcohol addiction and what it cost him. The scene felt more matter of fact than anything and wasn’t actually that badly acted by him, the person opposite to him on the other hand barely reacted the entire time he was talking about it.
That is my problem with this film, its actors never really reacting in a way they should! Perez at the very least knows when to look terrified, and when to run yet most of the cast lack the ability to seem like they care at all about what is happening. Oh I’m supposed to be screaming? Oh I’m supposed to be woozy? There is probably a distinct lack of direction this film received especially regarding its talent as more often than not you will be rattling your brain as to how this horror film got greenlit.
This is essentially a whodunit style of horror, one that tries to keep the viewer guessing on the identity of its killer. The problem is the killer is far too obvious…especially when you see what they were voted “Most Likely” for. The film tries its hardest to mask it as various people, but does so very poorly as their way of making the viewer suspect some people makes them the least suspicious suspect of all. They introduce a character to be the creepy groundskeeper and they only really mention him once with conviction throughout the entirety of the film.
I have seen better put together whodunits before, and I have seen my fair share of bad ones but this one takes the cake. The exposition some characters spout make you think “why did you bring that up now of all times?” only for it to have little consequence to the film overall! Now the killer…the killer’s lines themselves point them out far too much and you will easily deduce them after one particular scene. It’s stupid how they try to telegraph some people, only to make the killer actually telegraph themselves far too often.
I usually give films like Urban Legend and My Soul to Take more of a pass on account of them at times being so bad it’s funny. Most Likely to Die is insulting to both its viewer’s intelligence and how they think any of these characters are worth sympathizing with. Each of them lack the ability to be sympathized with due to how poorly written they all are, all having a one dimensional personality with their defining trait being their title for the yearbook. While the acting for the most part isn’t the worst element, it does at times infuriate when there is reacting involved in the scenario as more often than not it’s just non-responsive. The film is essentially a by the numbers whodunit horror along the vein of Scream yet lacks the ability to subvert expectation. The killer is obvious and it’s not even funny how predictable or hilariously bad some of the deaths are, they essentially tell you how each of them is going to die.
Let me give you an example of how bad some of these scenes are. One girl runs out of the killer’s domain within the house only to be caught by a rope trap hidden under dirt that was far away from the house nearby a random shed. How did the killer honestly know she was going to step on that exact spot?! Even before that, how did the yearbook incident happen in any place? Didn’t a teacher skim through the yearbook to find out that they had done this before it was distributed? There are simple breaks in logic that make even the premise extremely sketchy. It is a baffling film that does nothing with either its premise or characters in a correct fashion that calls for either dark wit or creating sympathetic characters to cheer for in this supposed “horror” film. Most Likely to Die is a by the numbers slasher film without creativity, creating one of the most bland and predictable slashers in a long while.
Scream (1995) – A whodunit done correctly that satirized and revitalized the slasher genre and horror films alike. This is easily one of the staple films within the genre and is exactly what Most Likely to Die was trying to copy. Why settle for the worst when you can watch the film that actually did it correctly?
You’re Next (2011) – If you are a fan of pitch black comedies then You’re Next is up your alley. Most Likely to Die felt more like a bad attempt at a slasher film, yet You’re Next is exactly what the genre needed in the present day. While the extremely dry dark humour is not my cup of tea, many genre fans will be extremely satisfied with its entertaining and well shot twists and turns.
My judgement is harsh and swift! Well it just goes to show you, nothing is a sure thing to be just a fun ride. Hopefully this will be the only non-passing grade I give throughout the entire 12 days…but that may be asking too much. So have you seen this piece de resistance? Please put your thoughts down in the comments below and have a great day!