30th Aug2015

Frightfest 2015: ‘Most Likely to Die’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Heather Morris, Ryan Doom, Perez Hilton, Chad Addison, Tess Christiansen, Tatum Miranda, Skyler Vallo, Jason Tobias, Marci Miller, Johnny Ramey | Written by Laura Brennan | Directed by Anthony DiBlasi

most-likely-to-die

I thought that writer/director Anthony DiBlasi had given up on the horror genre after he chose to helm Wuthering High School – a teen movie, more accurately a TV movie, take on the classic novel – and to be fair I thought it wouldn’t be much of a loss. You see, beyond his first film Dread, which was based on the short story of the same name by Clive Barker, I have pretty much disliked every movie he has made, including his two of his previous Frightfest-screened movies, Cassadaga and Missionary. However… and here’s where I eat my words (and my razor-edged hat if needs be) he hits it out of the park with Most Likely to Die.

With tongue placed firmly in cheek, Most Likely to Die is an homage to the 1980s slasher genre, starring Heather Morris (Glee), Jake Busey (TV’s From Dusk Till Dawn and the show I’ll always remember him for, Shasta McNasty) and, get this, showbiz gossip blogger Perez Hilton – who is this films biggest scream queen, and what a scream!

The trio, amongst others, are part of a 10-year High School reunion hosted by a disgraced ice hockey player. Soon the party takes a deadly turn when one-by-one the former classmates, each with a secret shared history, turn up dead according to their senior yearbook superlatives (as in “most Likely to…”). Who is the masked psycho with the razor-sharp mortarboard and what exactly is his problem?

Oddly this cast of characters are seemingly unconcerned (ridiculously so) when their friends die. On the surface thats undoubtedly because they’re all so wrapped up in their own little worlds to care about anything other than themselves – a reflection on “selfie” culture – but then it could also be a nod to the ridiculous notion that people are becoming desnsitized in this day and age where you can see ANYTHING online, and the media sensationalises violence and death. Either way their lack of sensitivity is a rather harsh criticism of modern society…

Thematically there’s lot of the original 1986 iteration of April Fools Day mirrored in DiBlasi’s film. Both films are obviously plays on the classic Ten Little Indians story (as are ALL slasher movies), but the films also both share a very strange off-kilter atmosphere that makes them feel a lot different to your traditional slasher flick. And whilst both have a comical side to them, Most Likely to Die has a much darker, and much more twisted streak of black (very black) humour running through it. Nowhere is this more evident than in the films pièce de résistance – a nasty beheading scene that screams “you thought we wouldn’t go there? Well check THIS out!” It seems obvious to point out that Scream, in so far as its twisted killers with a master plan, had a heavy influence on this film too; although DiBlasi’s film plays thing much straighter than Wes Craven franchise ever did.

With a set-up that screams for a sequel and a killer that looks as imposing and impressive as any slasher-franchise madman could wearing a cap and gown ensemble, Most Likely to Die is that rarest of animals, a film that successfully manages to walk the fine line between great slasher movie and great pastiche. Without failing at either.

****½  4.5/5

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One Response to “Frightfest 2015: ‘Most Likely to Die’ Review”

  • Jake

    Maybe you should read the reviews Hilton got in that horrible musical he’s in now, the critics tore him to pieces. Whoever made the decision to include him in this should be canned, everything he touches fails, he has no public appeal. Of course, in his fantasy world he is adored by all.