Remember all those terrible teen-horror movies in the 90s? Sure, Scream was great, but it opened the floodgates for movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend. Well, the dream of the 90s is alive in Most Likely to Die.
The characters in Most Likely to Die aren’t teenagers, they’re actually twenty-somethings celebrating their ten year high school reunion. The yearbook staff meets up at a beach house the day before to get reacquainted, have some drinks, and of course have some good old fashion premarital sex. One by one, they start to get picked off, being killed according to their senior superlatives. “Most likely to have their name up in lights?” Hung by Christmas lights. “Most likely to eat anything?” Have a hockey stick shoved down your throat. This is, by far, the most clever part of the film but one that ultimately left me wanting, as it only happens to a select few characters. The rest use their superlatives to simply give their character depth, such as the professional poker player who is “most likely to play the hand she’s dealt” or the recovering alcoholic who is “most likely to spike the punch.” I would have liked to see more of the superlative deaths come into play.
The killer, known as The Graduate, is a decent enough looking baddy. He wears a cap and gown and has a papier-mâché mask made from yearbook photos. His weapon of choice is a box cutter or his razor-tipped mortar board, but also uses his graduation cord to strangle people to death. Most of the kills are pretty good, although some are rather quick. There is a decapitation scene that is particularly gruesome.
It should come as no surprise that writer Laura Brennan originally wrote this script 20 years ago. The 90s movies I referenced above are clearly an influence, especially Scream. This movie throws so many red herrings at you that it smells like a fish hatchery. The problem is that they are so obviously red herrings, at least to me, so by the time the killer is actually revealed it’s not that surprising. Not to mention that by that point you’re really not all that invested in a reveal and would trade in a maniac’s monologue for some more on-screen gore. There was a definite feeling that they wanted to make The Graduate into a franchise. I’m not sure where the story goes from here but there is sequel potential. The story is open ended enough to continue without being derivative. Whether or not there’s an actual desire for it, well that’s a little more doubtful.
I decided to give this movie a chance based on its director, Anthony DiBlasi’s, previous effort, Night Shift. That was one of the most tense supernatural thrillers I’d witnessed in a long time. This one doesn’t have a lot of tension, but then again neither do most slashers. I would have liked to see a little more of that heart pounding dread that I saw in Night Shift, but overall this movie isn’t bad. It isn’t necessarily good, per se, either, but it’s certainly better than the one star it has on Netflix. I don’t see it being added to many collections, but if you have a Netflix subscription it’s probably worth your time, especially if you’re a fan of movies like Scream.