Most Likely to Die, 2015
Directed by Anthony DiBlasi
Starring Heather Morris, Chad Addison, Tess Christiansen, Ryan Doom, Marci Miller, Johnny Ramey, Jason Tobias, Tatum Miranda, Perez Hilton, Jake Busey
A group of former classmates gather for a pre-party at one of their homes the night before their 10-year high school reunion, and one by one, they are brutally slain in a manner befitting each’s senior yearbook superlative.
After the release of Wes Craven’s Scream in 1996, the slasher genre (which was effectively dead by the mid-80s) received a resurgence and many imitators came to our screens like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cherry Falls and Urban Legend. During this time, screenwriter Laura Brennan wrote a screenplay called Most Likely to Die, which remained undeveloped as the subgenre once again died out. Now, nearly 20 years later, it’s been brought to us by Missionary director Anthony DiBlasi, who interestingly hasn’t changed or updated this 90s slasher to 21st Century values.
It’s the ten-year anniversary of this group of friend’s graduation and they’re all getting together to celebrate. But there seem to be fractures in the group left over from highschool that have effected their adult lives. Worse still, there is a killer out to torture them wearing their graduation gear – but who is the killer?
Writing a paragraph like that it akin to stepping in a time machine and writing a slasher movie review in the late 90s. Most Likely to Die reeks of 90s nostalgia, but not in the same way a movie that is set in the 90s would. Make no mistake, this is set in the present day, but it really feels like it was born from that post-modern slasher revival. Is that a bad thing? Not really. If anything, it gives Most Likely to Die a certain unique charm. A lot of movies could attempt to emulate this style, but Brennan’s script is an actual time capsule story. Because it was written in this popularity boom, it’s not cynical or trying to be nostalgic and is therefore genuinely enjoyable.
However it is now 2015, and we’ve all moved on from Scream. And as such, Most Likely to Die is only okay from a nostalgic point of view. There is nothing wrong with DiBlasi’s direction, Brennan’s script or the well-rounded cast, but Most Likely to Die is rather unimpressive. Even if this movie had been made when the subgenre was in a peak, it wouldn’t have resonated with the audience and would have never have stood shoulder to shoulder with the genre leaders. Once again, Most Likely to Die is a good movie, but it’s not a great movie.
Credit should be given to DiBlasi as he has carved a very entertaining 90 minutes of slasher fluff, and he never lets his audience rest for too long. He also gets the best out a cast that includes former Glee actor Heather Morris and celebrity gossiper Perez Hilton. One would assume a cynical eye over the casting of Hilton (and by all accounts those cynicisms are warranted as the studio originally wanted a ‘YouTubber’), but he is surprisingly very good in the role. He sticks out like a sore thumb because he looks 15 years older than everyone else, but he’s certainly not half-arsing his performance. In fact, no one is.
But Most Likely to Die can’t escape just being okay. It will play to a certain audience, and that audience will enjoy it for what it is, however it’s not going to start a revolution or have people begging for a sequel. A door has been left open for one – and this author would like to see it made – but, like Missionary, Most Likely to Die will probably most likely to be forgotten.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.