MOST LIKELY TO DIE
Director: Anthony DiBlasi
Year of release: 2015/2016
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 90 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only
Tagline: "One killer reunion".
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Seven old school friends in town for a class reunion gather at the isolated beach house of fellow former student friend Ray. Doing well for himself as a highly paid ice hockey player Ray has recently fallen on hard times having been cut from the team leaving his career in tatters.
Upon arrival the guests find their host surprisingly absent. Figuring he may be off with a girl somewhere and distracted with one another anyway they initially aren’t too concerned. Intending to stay at Ray’s home for a few days prior to the reunion the group settle in as they catch up and reminisce about old times.
After finding an old yearbook of Ray’s revelations come to light regarding a former classmate whom the group collectively bullied years ago shortly before graduation. After attempting to retaliate the kid was apparently expelled and sent to a juvenile detention centre.
Not long after things take a sinister turn when a mutilated body is discovered on site. With a murderer seemingly on the loose the group become stuck at the house with no phone service and their vehicles sabotaged. As the friends are hunted down they try and puzzle out if it’s the kid they wronged years ago behind it all or perhaps the still absent Ray sent mad by the collapse of his hockey career.
Good points: *Easily the best thing on display here is the attire of the bad guy. Playing off the school reunion theme the killer is dressed in purple graduation gown and mortarboard hat. Complimenting this get-up is a graffiti strewn paper-mache skull type mask. It makes for a striking disguise and fast becomes the most memorable thing in the film.
In another good move the hat part of the outfit serves a duel purpose as it has a sharpened razor edge put to use for a couple of the kills.
At the beginning during the credits I also liked how the mask was shown being put together Nightmare on Elm Street Style. Also appearing in this opening segment to help make the mask/cut out the yearbook photos is a box cutter type knife which later turns out to be the secondary weapon. Including the knife right from the onset was a nice touch.
*In a nod to eighties slashers like Prom Night and Graduation Day, pictures of the group are blown up and hung on the wall to be crossed out with a red cross once the person in question is killed. It’s a simple but pleasing gimmick to include an no doubt something appreciated by older slasher fans collectively. On top of this utilising the superlative phrases like “Most likely to eat anything” for both the title and more importantly for the kills was a smart touch. It threw a bit of originality onto the familiar theme of the photographs.
I actually think the gimmick of using these phrases was not taken advantage of to its full potential with a fairly low body count meaning only a handful of them were actually referenced.
Spoiler: Even some actually used could have been better. Simone’s line about “Most likely to get what she wants” with her body then being dumped in the jacuzzi could have been a lot better and imaginative. With the vagueness of her phrase there was room for invention but if going with the water they could have at least of had her actually killed in there instead of just the body being dumped in afterward.
Overall though it was definitely a good idea to style the kills after these lines but just not pushed as far or as hard as it could have been.
*I didn’t care much for her at the beginning but as the story wore on I began to warm to final girl Gaby. By the end I was very much rooting for her and even for the character of her ex-boyfriend as well to a lesser extent. The circumstances of their previous relationship slowly coming to light made for an interesting sub plot which was well told. Spoiler: By the end, said relationship even plays into the killers demise which was an example of thoughtful writing.
Bad Points: *Though the writing was on point in certain areas in others it left me feeling disappointed. I was hoping and expecting to learn the full story behind the John Doherty character (the youngster bullied by the group in the distant past). As it is though we’re never told in full what actually happens. Even at the end during the course of the killers monologue, little is revealed as to what was actually done to the guy that was perceived as being so bad.
They might have been better served actually showing us via flashback what really happened back in the day. A much quicker shorter variation of the opening of Slaughter High for example might have worked, alas it wasn’t to be.
*Another unsatisfactory thing which leaves a sour taste is that the body count is too low with not enough people from the group ultimately being dispatched. To me if felt like the film shot itself in the foot here and wasn’t as exciting or enjoyable as it otherwise could have been had the body count have been greater.
Spoiler: This issue is particularly apparent at the very end where there are far too many characters left alive to listen as the killer rattles off their motivation spiel. Said speech isn’t the best either being somewhat long winded and boring. As I said earlier it also fails to throw enough light on the John Doherty bullying situation of the past.
*Another factor which hurts the ending is that the killer is revealed at a point which feels slightly too early. Because of this the great costume is done away with for the last quarter.
*The Freddy character comes across as really annoying and obnoxious to the point where I really began to hate him as the story rolled on. He’s played by Perez Hilton who’s something of a controversial figure but I don’t think the fault lies with him so much as with the script. He was portrayed too much as the stereotypical gay type in that he’s very loud and effeminate but also super cowardly once the trouble starts as he starts behaving like a little girl. A couple of times I couldn’t believe how embarrassing and cringeworthy his character was.
Spoiler: For him to actually survive all the way through is a complete travesty. It left me feeling deflated that I was cheated out of seeing him receive his comeuppance.
Verdict: Most Likely to Die is a funny one to sum up because although I largely enjoyed the film I came away from it more disappointed than anything else. I think this stems from how it manages to hit a few of the right notes square on the head and in doing so got my hopes up that it was going to be something great. Despite some strong components though it bungles things in other areas and these failings ultimately prevent it from propelling itself into that upper bracket.
As a simple straightforward slasher story that sticks close to the traditional template with a cool looking killer to boot there is still much to like. It has that Scream-esque, late 90’s, early 2000’s vibe to it as well I thought so that helped with its appeal for me as well. As decent as it is though some of the flaws like the low body count do leave a bitter taste.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Ashley: Steps on a rope snare which drags her into an outhouse type building. Body later found with throat cut.
2)Tarkin: Strangled with rope.
3)Simone: Slashed in the forehead and neck with razor edge of hat. Body later found in jacuzzi/pool.
4)Bella/Tatum: Throat slashed with thrown razor edge hat. Then decapitated with said hat.
5)Jade: Shot by Gaby with a handgun (by accident).
6)Lamont: Hockey stick shoved into his mouth and then throat slit.
7)DJ: Shot by Gaby.
Review added on the 12th of August 2020.