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Fantastic Fest ‘18 Review: “YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER” slays us with laughs

Saturday, September 22, 2018 | Review

By DEIRDRE CRIMMINS

Starring Fran Kranz, Alyson Hannigan, Brittany S. Hall
Directed by Brett Simmons
Written by Brett Simmons & Thomas P. Vitale

Though the title is reminiscent of a thankfully almost forgotten Jeff Foxworthy bit, and the film was apparently inspired by a Twitter discussion, the film YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER is a damn fine, and darn funny, self-referential little horror comedy.

Just like head camp counselor Sam (Fran Kranz), YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER starts by hitting the ground running. Sam is covered in blood and trying to outrun some killer who stalking him through what is left of his quaint summer camp. Sam has no other friends or counselors to turn to, so naturally he uses his cell phone to call his good friend Chuck (Alyson Hannigan) to get her help. You see, the Sheriff was asleep, so that call went to voicemail, and Chuck was the next most useful person who Sam knows: Chuck, the horror film expert. Through relaying to Chuck, who is at work at a comic store, the series of events that lead to Sam being stowed in this particular cabin with a killer on the loose we learn everything we need to know about Sam’s best chances to get out alive. But perhaps (as the title suggests) the killer is a little closer to home than suspected.

Using all of horror’s hallowed history, Chuck deftly explains to Sam what is going on at the camp and what he needs to do next. Through blood-smeared text that occasional splatters across the screen, we are given the counselor body count, which helps us piece together a timeline of the day before the camp killer was unleashed.

Though Hannigan is not joined by her previous Scooby Gang, is is nice to see her once again the head nerd, helping solve a supernatural mystery. She gives a bone-dry performance that is not rattled by death or even the occasional intrusive customer. When Sam first tells Chuck that there is a killer stalking the counselors at his camp, without batting an eye Chuck responds, “That happens sometimes.” Her unshakable straight man to Sam’s understandably panicked manner offers a perfect comic backdrop to the absurdity of the evening.

Much like CABIN IN THE WOODS, or THE FINAL GIRLS, knowledge of horror film mechanics is necessary to survive. Without Chuck to lean on, Sam would not make it as far as he does. Kranz’s long horror pedigree makes his casting here a natural fit, as does his performance as the blood-soaked Sam.

Like many horror comedies, there are some pacing issues when the film pivots from funny and scary to just plain scary. As we are less invested in the plot than we are in the more entertaining laughs and gory kills, YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER suffers a similarly clunky stumble onto its serious side. The film is mostly consistent up to, and after this point, so this is not a major problem, just a notable misstep in a mostly swiftly moving film.

Twitter inspired films might just be a new ground for hive brainstorming and vetting ideas. If both YOU MIGHT BE THE KILLER and TUSK are indicative of what can be brought together through this platform, then I say keep it up.

Deirdre is a Chicago-based film critic and life-long horror fan. In addition to writing for RUE MORGUE, she also contributes to BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH., FILM THRILLS, and HIGH DEF DIGEST. She's got two black cats and wrote her Master's thesis on George Romero.