Most Likely to Die, from director Anthony DiBlasi, features a group of twenty-somethings (played by actors well into their 30s and 40s) all set to pre-game like crazy before their ten-year high school reunion. But when a masked killer starts picking them off one by one, they’ll realize they’re in yet another dull, uninspired slasher movie.
I’ve talked about two of DiBlasi’s films before. The first was Missionary, a surprisingly tense thriller about a Mormon missionary who gives in to his darkest urges. And the other was the more recent Last Shift. Both movies are great, low-budget takes on classic horror stories that truly stand on their own two feet. So, I don’t know what the hell went wrong with Most Likely to Die.
Nobody who made this movie has ever seen a slasher movie. I guarantee it.
Slasher movies are a pretty basic formula to follow and get right. You start with the opening kill, as seen in movies like Friday the 13th or Halloween. This quickly establishes the threat, opens with some a fun scare that also highlights the sort of creativity involved, and immediately hooks your audience. Then you move on to your main cast of disposable, yet colorful characters, let us, the audience, get attached, and then you start whittling away at them until only one or two are left standing. Maybe.
But while DiBlasi’s movie begins with that opening kill sequence, it’s almost as if it’s done begrudgingly so. Because in addition to being set in a scareless, rather lovely day in what appears to be a much nicer corner of Los Angeles, it’s also slow as all Hell. A man is at home, depressed about being cut from the hockey team that afforded him this luxury home in the hills. His girlfriend is calling to let him know she’s coming home. They hang up. She gets back to find the place empty. And then she’s slowly chased through the park behind their house until she’s killed off-camera. That’s it. This slow, clunky, over-lit, unscary slog.
The rest of the movie is just as formulaic and boring. Jesus, only like two scenes are actually shot at night. And they’re still overlit. The rest of the “night” scenes are just very obvious day scenes with very obvious blue filters thrown over them.
The effects, the look, the sound, the acting, the pacing, the design of the killer are all lackluster. They’re all subpar, honestly. Even for an indie horror film. Because some fun stuff has been done with the slasher genre on the indie scene. And it’s partly because they’re so formulaic and easy to get right. It’s just a matter of passion and creativity on the part of those involved that allows such a movie to pop when it might have otherwise been written off as yet another copycat of Friday the 13th. Have an interesting hook, some fun kills, and a somewhat cool or freaky looking killer. The rest of the time, just follow the time-tested formula and keep the pace up.
DiBlasi missed the mark here. Most Likely to Die isn’t worth a watch by even the most bored, hardcore slasher fans. But DiBlasi’s other films–Missionary and Last Shift–are definitely worth adding to your Halloween watch-list. So, if nothing else, let this movie serve as nothing more than a remind that those other two do exist and must be watched?