If you told me that Anthony Diblasi’s Most Likely to Die was filmed in the late 90’s and the only print was stolen by a disgruntled PA who had an irrational (and pseudo-sexual) vendetta against the movie and then the movie was discovered under old pizza boxes and crusty gym socks, after the PA’s tragic end due to a miscalculation experimenting with auto-erotic asphyxiation and gerbils, I would say,” That is exactly how I want to go AND I totally believe it.” MLtD is a slasher flick in the vein of Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer and (more closely) Urban Legends. For those readers who are too young to remember, in the later part of the last 90’s we were hammered in the head with genre flicks featuring a cast of super attractive people (usually pushing 30 playing teenagers) being picked off one by one by a masked killer, in retaliation for some awful deed committed years ago. These films came and went and like all genre trends the gems still shine and the turds got flushed. As I was in my formative years during this wave, I am shocked how nostalgic I became for these types of movies. It’s a sub-genre I never revisit and after sitting down with Most Likely to Die, I got a mean hankering to dig up some those flicks and see how time has treated them. Does this mean that MLtD would have been one of those gems? Not really… but it’s far from a turd waiting to be flushed.
A group of attractive people in their late 20’s meet up the night before their 10 year high school reunion and as you guessed it’s a hodgepodge of a group that can only exist in a cinematic world. John Hughes presented this premise in the 80’s (The Breakfast Club and all those flicks) and film makers since have decided that these highly eclectic groups of teenagers roam a majority of high schools. Jocks hang with nerds, who in return party with the drama kids, who are whooping it up with the cheerleaders. At least when Hughes did it he acknowledged this group together was unusual and would most likely never happen again. Unlike Hughes, MLtD writer Laura Brennan goes with the old troupe and brings this unlikely group together. One by one the group is picked off by a masked killer. As tensions grow secrets are revealed, people turn on each and old flames are rekindled… Yeah nothing new, but at least we got a badass killer who knows how to pile on the body count in effectively gore-tastical ways! And really, what more could we ask for!?!
The acting is solid across the board, but the most shocking thing is that Perez Hilton didn’t annoy the crap out of me. Not sure why I felt he would (I had to mentally prepare myself for this), but I almost forgot who he was. I ain’t saying the man went all “Daniel Day Lewis” on it, but he does provide the comic relief and does a fine job of it. I was a little confused on Jake Busey’s character. Who he was and why they cast him in such an insignificant part seemed like a waste. It’s nothing more than a glorified cameo. I guess he does carry some name power in the genre world, but I could think of much better names that would put butts in the seat. Could be why I don’t make movies.
I got a feeling Anthony Diblasi wasn’t trying to “reinvent the wheel” with this one. It’s pretty straight forward and plays like a slasher flick from the mid-90’s. My formative years as a genre fan land smack dab in the middle of these flicks and I would be lying to say I don’t have a soft spot for these flicks. It’s also bizarre to think that these 90’s slashers are old of enough to ignite nostalgia. I love the elaborate killers with overly convoluted motives. The one thing these films always lacked was crazy fun kills and Diblasi decided to rectify that. The highlight of MLtD is the kills. We got hockey sticks down the throat, jaw’s ripped open and handful of throat slashes (just to name a few). The characters are bland and I honest can’t remember anyone’s name, but I do remember how they all bought it. Think this says more about me than the movie….
When the killer is revealed it makes about as much sense as Trump running for President and is so thin you can just about see through it, but everything ties up nicely and brings me back to that Scream-era of horror I didn’t realize I missed. Anthony DiBlasi is one of the more interesting film makers working today. Dread, Cassadaga and Last Shift are must see movies for any genre fan and I know he will produce many more great horror flicks in the years to come. Is Most Likely to Die his best work to date? Not even close. What it is is a hell of a fun time and not a bad way to spend Friday the 13th when your looking for a break from all those Jason flicks.