You Might Be the Killer (USA, 2018)
Every now and then, I stumble upon a film and wonder why the hell I haven’t heard of it before. There has been a flood of slasher comedies in recent years, with films like Happy Death Day, Freaky and The Final Girls getting wide releases. The trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, with Totally Killer coming out this month. And yet You Might Be the Killer seems to have been lost in this deluge. This is a shame, as it’s a lot of fun.
You Might Be the Killer is currently available on Shudder in the UK.
We meet Sam (Fran Kanz), the head counsellor at just the sort of summer camp where slasher films happen, just as he’s fleeing a masked murderer. Sheltering in a cabin, covered in blood, he phones his old friend Chuck (Alyson Hannigan) for advice. Chuck, after all, works in a comic shop, and is well-versed in the tropes of the genre Sam finds himself in. When she asks Sam how many people are dead, he can only pin it down to “a lot”. The film reinforces this throughout, offering us a visual tally of dead counsellors as we jump back and forth in time.
Acting as a form of existential tech support, Chuck calmly walks Sam through a series of uncomfortable realisations. It seems that Sam’s memory of events is not to be trusted, although he starts recalling more and more details as Chuck prompts him. This helps Sam realise the baseball bat he is carrying is actually a weirdly ritualistic looking machete, and he is in possession of the killer’s mask. Building on this, Chuck asks Sam if he thinks he might be the killer.
As evidence mounts, Sam revisits the scenes of the various murders, trying to work out how he ended up in this situation. His attempts are hindered by the few surviving counsellors, who understandably to want to kill him. Worse, it seems like one of them may be a final girl…
It didn’t register until after I’d watched the film that it was spawned from a legendary Twitter conversation between writers Sam Sykes and Chuck Wendig that I remember enjoying greatly at the time. And, of course, that’s why the central characters are named Sam and Chuck.
Sadly, recent changes to Twitter have made it pretty much impossible to follow the original thread (not the worst thing to happen to Twitter under its new management, but still…) Even finding a complete archive of the conversation is proving tricky. The best I could track down was a video of a reading of the tweets.
I am very glad I chanced upon You Might Be the Killer. It’s a fun, pacey, occasionally clever film that effortlessly switches between bloody murder and comedy. I don’t think I’ve seen a comedy-horror film that manages this balancing act quite so well since Shaun of the Dead. Sam’s slow piecing together of events is both unsettling and rich fodder for jokes, playing out like The Hangover reinvented as a slasher movie.
As I started watching the film, I worried that I might have made a mistake in reading a synopsis first. While the title playfully suggests the idea, surely the film would take its time establishing that Sam is the killer. Well, no. It’s confirmed pretty much in the first 15 minutes. This isn’t really a film about big twists or revelations, although there are some fun reveals along the way.
My one complaint is that the pace slackens a little in act two, as Sam slowly pieces together the events that brought him to this point. Even then, it is still peppered with enough fun moments that it never grows dull. And given the escalation of the final act, any qualms I had were soon forgotten. The ending is especially strong, hitting us with a fantastic one-two punch.
If you’re in the mood for something light and entertaining this Halloween season, albeit with plenty of blood and guts, You Might Be the Killer is definitely worth a watch.
The October Horror Movie Challenge
Please do join in and share your own thoughts with us about this or any other films as the month goes on. You can usually find us on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, or lurking in the dark corners of your home.
If you would like to play along at home, my provisional selections are:
- Dark August (USA, 1976)
- Huesera: The Bone Woman (Mexico/Peru, 2022)
- The Banishing (UK, 2020)
- Brooklyn 45 (USA, 2023)
- Bloody Muscle Bodybuilder in Hell (Japan, 1995)
- Pyewacket (Canada, 2017)
- Grave Robbers (Mexico, 1989)
- You Might Be The Killer (USA, 2018)
- No One Will Save You (USA, 2023)
- The Sect (Italy, 1991)
- Last Night in Soho (UK, 2021)
- Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil (Spain, 2017)
- 47 Metres Down (UK/USA, 2017)
- The Oskars Fantasy (Philippines, 2022)
- In the Earth (UK, 2021)
- Something in the Dirt (USA, 2022)
- Blood Flower (Malaysia, 2023)
- Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (Canada, 1987)
- Older Gods (UK, 2023)
- Come to Daddy (New Zealand, 2020)
- Shrew’s Nest (Spain, 2014)
- Totally Killer (USA, 2023)
- The Premonition (USA, 1976)
- Murder Me, Monster (Argentina, 2018)
- The Gruesome Twosome (USA, 1967)
- Talk to Me (Australia, 2023)
- Gaia (South Africa, 2021)
- Demon (Poland, 2015)
- Juju Stories (Nigeria, 2022)
- El Conde (Chile, 2023)
- The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (Hong Kong/UK, 1974)
A Final Note
If you have been enticed here by these posts, please do look around at some of our other film reviews. We also have a podcast, called The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, which occasionally covers horror films. If this appeals, you might want to check out some of the following episodes.
- The Night House
- The Changeling
- The Endless
- Our favourite Cthulhu Mythos media
- The Fly
- A Dark Song
- The Thing
- The Ritual
- The Wicker Man
- The Stone Tape
- Event Horizon
- The Witch
- INLAND EMPIRE
- Nightbreed and Lord of Illusions
- Maléfique and The Ninth Gate
- Re-Animator and From Beyond
- Repulsion and The Babdook
- Man Bites Dog, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and S&man
- A selection of weird films
- David Cronenberg
- The films that scared us most
If you dig through the archives, you will also find episodes about a wide variety of horror stories and games. Happy nightmares!