3 reasons to watch You Might Be the Killer on Shudder


Debuting on Shudder this past Thursday, You Might Be the Killer is a satirical, genre-savvy, delightfully twisted, new approach to the slasher film. 

You Might Be the Killer Background

When the camp counselors at Camp Clear Vista start dying in gruesome ways all across the grounds, Sam (Fran Kanz) must call his good friend Chuck (a horror connoisseur who works at a local video store played by Alyson Hannigan) for help. They work together to try and discover the identity of this crazed killer before anyone else dies. If you’re a fan of films like The Cabin in the Woods, Scream, or even The Final Girls, then You Might be the Killer should be right up your alley.

The film premiered at Fantastic Fest this year and is currently sitting pretty with a 100% audience score on RottenTomatoes. It’s a fun film, specifically tailored for horror fans, as it’s chockfull of nods to many horror heavyweights, such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and more (there’s even a poster for Tara Reid’s fantastically bad B-Movie, Trailer Park Shark in one background shot).

As referenced in the tweet above, one of the most interesting things about the creation of this film is its origins. Craig Engler, the executive producer of the film, got inspired by a tongue-in-cheek Twitter thread between Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes (you can read the entirety of the thread here). He thought their amusing take on slasher films and the unspoken “rules” of the genre would make for a good film – not unlike Randy’s rules from the Scream franchise except played with a more serious tone.

In my opinion, Engler was correct. I had a blast watching You Might be the Killer and here are a few reasons why I think you will too.

Brittany S. Hall as Imani and cast of You Might Be the Killer – Photo Credits to Screen Media Films

3. The Cast Is Excellent

Most people probably recognize Fran Kranz as lovable stoner, Marty, from 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods, which was another self-referential horror film. Alyson Hannigan, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and How I Met Your Mother fame, is more than a worthy co-star for Kranz’s general buffoonery.  Sam and Chuck (who are, of course, named after the two men that inspired the script [see above]), never share a scene together in person, yet, somehow, Kranz and Hannigan are able to create a charming sense of camaraderie through their many phone calls.

Once Sam realizes his friends are dying all around him, Chuck is the first person he turns to and it doesn’t take long to figure out why. She breaks out her own version of the Necromonicon, one stuffed with every horror movie trope and cliché you could think of, in order to help him figure out the best course of action. It is Chuck who brings up the entire premise and plot of the movie, “have you considered – you might be the killer?”

Filling out the rest of the cast and camp counselors is Brittany S. Hall (Ballers) as Imani, Jenna Harvey as Jamie, Bryan Price as Steve “The Kayak King”, Patrick R. Walker (The Resident) as Brad, Jack Murillo (SEAL Team) as Freddie, Sara Catherine Bellamy (Cold Moon) as Drew, Savannah DesOrmeaux (American Horror Story) as Nancy, Carol Jean Walls (Jeff Who Lives at Home) as Heather, Olivia Jaye Brown as Carol, Clara Chong as Alice, Jesse Gallagos as Ted, and Peter Jaymes Jr. (When We First Met) as Bob.

Many of the actors and actresses in this film have only been in small projects prior to this but you wouldn’t know it. Everyone does a great job together and even though the scenes where they are all together are far and few between, there is a notable chemistry that makes them fun to watch. Freddie and Nancy’s names are clear nods to The Nightmare on Elm Street and just one of many references to other horror films.

Fran Kranz as Sam in You Might Be the Killer – Photo Credits to Screen Media Films

2. There Are Plenty of Vicious Kills for Fans of Gore

Even though You Might Be the Killer isn’t your typical slasher movie, don’t expect it to skimp on the bloodshed. Most of the counselors meet grisly fates and some of the death sequences are more shocking and horrific than those I’ve seen in other, darker, movies in the last year. One guy actually gets his head cleaved clear in two at a moment when you least expect it. Everyone who dies gets a disturbing murder scene all their own.

Plus the killer dons an eerie wooden mask and wields a massive machete complete with a serrated jawbone (human or otherwise) lining its edges, it’s not exactly the image you want to have in your head right before going to sleep.

While it may come with lots of laughs and plenty in-jokes for horror gurus to guess, that doesn’t mean it isn’t stuffed with genuine scares of its own as well.

1. It’s Hysterically Self-Aware

As mentioned before, You Might Be the Killer is very much in the spirit of other self-parodic horror films from the realm of Wes Craven’s Scream. Chuck is a spiritual successor to Scream’s own Randy Meeks, in that, she’s a horror fanatic and well aware of who lives and dies in your average slasher film. Throughout the movie, she is a voice of horror logic for Sam.

The film pays homage to ’80s slasher films with its title font, musical score, and the central plot surrounding a group of camp counselors. It also doesn’t tell its story in chronological order, instead allowing a natural playfulness to develop as time markers are tracked by the amount of dead counselors. When the onscreen ticker is at 0 we know it’s early in the story, but when they jump around and the count is suddenly at 6, well then, we’ve progressed to the latter half of the night.

I appreciated this ambitious method of storytelling, as trying to keep track of an ever-changing narrative can often result in confusing timelines or continuity issues but for You Might Be the Killer, it simply works.

That said, manage your expectations accordingly. You Might Be the Killer is an excellent way to spend a Saturday night in with a couple of friends, but it never reaches the lofty heights set by its predecessors. You certainly won’t find the same ingenuity so expertly crafted in Kranz’s previous project, The Cabin in the Woods, nor will you find thrills as chilling as those from the Scream franchise. It’s more than worth your while, but perhaps not quite ready for the horror hall of fame.

Despite treading through familiar territory, I can always appreciate a novel approach to a genre that often feels like it’s dying. The titular “slasher film” has gone out of style in the past decade or so, which is unfortunate. But when you have movies like this or Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day, it proves there is still hope to redefine and push the slasher forward into more original and ambitious endeavors than ever before.

Next. Born to Kill is an unsettling miniseries you might have missed. dark

You Might be the Killer was an Official Selection at both the Toronto After Dark Film Festival and Fantastic Fest. It was directed by Brett Simmons and co-created by Simmons and co-written by Simmons and Thomas P. Vitale.

The film is now available to stream exclusively on Shudder.

What did you think of You Might Be the Killer? What are some of your favorite classic slasher movies? Let us know in the comments!