Movie Review: "Most Likely to Die"
Most Likely to Die
When a group of adults decide to get together the day before their (ten year) high school reunion, they are quickly reminded of a terrible act they had committed during their high school years. Since they were all members of the yearbook committee, they had decided that, for one kid's "Most Likely to..." caption, they would say that he was "Most Likely to Die". Then, they printed the yearbook with that caption and planted a gun in his locker. As a result, the next ten years of that kid's life have been an absolute mess that all started from when he got expelled due to the gun in his locker.
Now all under one roof (and miles from any other civilization), the former members of the yearbook committee discover that they are being systematically murdered in brutal ways and that each crime scene has been staged to represent each victim's "Most Likely to..." caption. The remaining members of the group must discover who is murdering them and find a way to get safely away from this house.
The Pros & Cons
The Premise (+3pts)
The Characters (-6pts)
Most Likely to... (+6pts)
The Suspect (-8pts)
The Killer (+3pts)
Bad Decisions (-6pts)
Pro: The Premise (+3pts)
I thought this film had a decent (enough) premise. A group of adults get together before their high school reunion, but they are systematically hunted by a masked killer. I thought the reasons behind the events of this film were sound. This group of adults played a prank on a kid (that was too severe) and ended up ruining the kid's life. The killer of this film seeks justice for the actions of their past.
I think the premise of this film can connect with audiences because everyone has made decisions in high school that they would like to forget, would hate to see their mistakes (from ten years ago) come back to haunt them, and has had a run-in with bullying (in one way or another). On that level, I think that this movie can connect with most audiences.
Con: The Characters (-6pts)
This movie has an effective start. It presents the premise (as well as the gimmick) and it does so in classic slasher-movie style. Then, the audience has to watch every character show up at the house. The characters, then, have to catch up with each other and reminisce on their high school years. This is where the film loses all of its steam (and then some). The characters were so poorly developed, that their poorly written dialogue made the film feel very stale and uninteresting.
The "catching up" segment of the movie, probably lasted about twenty or thirty minutes (when the film is only about an hour and a half). Is this uncommon for a horror film? No, but when the characters were this ridiculous, this poorly developed, and had such bad dialogue, it causes the film to lose all of it's momentum. As a result, it is hard for the audience to care about these characters or even stay interested enough to watch them get killed.
Pro: Most Likely to... (+6pts)
As the title suggests, this movie plays on the popular high school yearbook tradition of "Most Likely to...". As this old group of friends gather before their high school reunion, one friend puts up large printed pictures of each of their yearbook photos. Underneath each photo, is the "Most Likely to..." that corresponded to their yearbook photos. Why is this interesting? The killer stages each victim's body in a way that represents the character's "Most Likely to..." caption.
I thought this was a unique part of the film. As an audience member, it was a bit entertaining to read the captions and try to guess how the killer would stage the body. While I liked this element of the film, I wish they had done it a bit differently. It would have been more entertaining if the killer killed all of it's victims in a way that represented each caption. It also would have been more effective if we got ample time to see or hear what each character's caption was.
Con: The Suspect (-8pts)
Okay, so these adults had bullied a kid ten years ago and absolutely ruined the next ten years of his life. Then a masked murderer shows up and starts killing these adults. Why on earth, does this film treat the killer's identity as a mystery? The film tries desperately, to convince it's audience that the killer could be someone other than the formerly bullied kid. Is that bullied kid actually the killer or is the killer someone else? You will have to see the movie to find out.
Normally, my problem (with something like this) would be that the movie was either too predictable or tried too hard to be unpredictable. Sure, that is part of my problem with this, but my real problem is with the film's focus. The filmmakers spent so much time trying to make the audience second guess a very obvious plot point, while spending no time trying to properly develop any character. It forced a mystery into the film when there did not need to be one. Why couldn't they have just made the villain be the bullied kid and have no character doubt that? It is possible to have a great horror movie with no mystery. Instead, the forced mystery ended up ruining the movie.
Pro: The Killer (+3pts)
While I hated the mystery element of the film, I rather enjoyed the masked killer itself. I thought the appearance, of the killer, worked really well. It wears a cap and gown to represent their high school graduation, and it wears a mask that emulates the scratched up yearbook photo of the kid that was deemed "Most Likely to Die". I thought the whole thing worked well, but I thought it's "slasher" style was pretty entertaining.
This killer kills it's victims in some interesting ways. Sometimes, the kill will be surprisingly brutal. Other times, the kill will be done in a surprising way (let me just say that it's cap is used for more than just a costume). Whenever this killer was doing it's thing, I was definitely entertained. The only problem is, this hardly ever happens throughout the duration of the film. Most Likely to Die, focuses too little time on the slasher element of the film, and that was a shame.
Con: Bad Decisions (-6pts)
Have I mentioned that I disliked the characters in this film? No? Well they were really bad. They were so bad, that their bad decisions get their own point in my Pros & Cons list. Since I have already mentioned why these characters did not work in the film, I will just take this space to vaguely (to avoid spoilers) give some examples of bad decisions that were made in this film.
When one character has a gun pointed straight at the killer (and has a perfect shot), another character yells "don't shoot!" (because reasons). This allows ample time for the killer to get away. To give another example, one character (conveniently) loses track of their phone, then instantly finds it. The phone is ringing, face down, and the words "answer me" are written on it. Oh yes, you should definitely walk to your phone, crouch down, and answer it. It is definitely not a trap.
Those are just two examples and they have no real impact on the film (aside from conveniently moving the plot along), but believe me, there are plenty of examples of bad decision making, which I will not go into because it could spoil the film (not saying that you should watch it). These were terrible decisions that were clearly written into the film in order to move the plot along.
Grade: D+ (67pts)
I saw the trailer for this movie and I thought it would be another ridiculous slasher film. Unfortunately, it still disappointed me. It has very poorly written characters yet focuses heavily on uninteresting dialogue between them. It has an interesting premise of staging the crime scenes to represent the character's "Most Likely to..." captions, and it has a cool slasher villain, but the film spends too little time showcasing it's slasher element. Then we have the characters making very bad decisions, and we have a suspect mystery element to the story (when it was completely unnecessary).
All of this resulted in the film's failure. It had average potential but still dropped the ball, so if you are looking for a good (or even average) horror film to watch, you should probably skip this one.