The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: Most Likely To Die (dir by Anthony DiBlasi)


most-likely-to_die-poster

Most Likely To Die is a slasher film about a group of old friends who gather at a remote house for the weekend.  It’s their high school reunion and almost everyone’s looking forward to getting caught up on old times.  What they don’t know is that there is a killer in their midst and that killer is going to kill them one by one.  Even worse, he’s going to do it in a way that ironically comments on their senior year superlatives.

Fortunately, everyone received a superlative that lends itself to an ironic death.  Seriously, this killer is just lucky that Most Likely To Eat Anything was friends with Most Likely To Break Hearts and Most Likely To Be Put On Ice.  Just imagine if Most Likely To Kill A Psycho had shown up for the weekend?  And what if he had brought his wife, Most Likely Not To Split Up In The Face Of Danger?  That would have screwed everything up!

Who is the killer?  Well, the natural suspect is John Daughtery.  He was the outcast who all the kids made fun of.  They even vandalized his yearbook entry, declaring him to be “Most Likely To Die.”  John was pretty upset about that but then it got even worse when a gun was discovered in his locker!  That pretty much ruined John’s life!

But maybe it’s not John.  Maybe it’s Tarkin, the groundskeeper.  Tarkin used to own a liquor store but he lost it when it was discovered that he was selling alcohol to underage kids.  Could Tarkin be looking for revenge?  Or is he just a perv who obsessively hangs around outside a certain bedroom window?  Tarkin, incidentally, is played by Jake Busey and, whenever Busey shows up in a slasher film, you know he’s either going to be the murderer or the film’s biggest red herring.

Then again, maybe this killer is Perez Hilton!

Seriously, Perez Hilton is in this movie and it’s not stunt casting.  Perez actually plays a real character and, at no point, does he wink at the audience and go, “It’s me, Perez!”  Perez gives a far better performance than you might expect.  His work here is, at the very least, on par with Paris Hilton’s performance in House of Wax.

Or maybe the killer is … someone else!

Honestly, if you’ve ever seen a slasher movie before, you’ll guess who the killer is.  Most Likely To Die does offer up a typical, last-minute slasher movie twist but it won’t take you by surprise.  In fact, there’s really nothing surprising about Most Likely To Die.  That said, for fans of the slasher genre, Most Likely To Die is entertaining and fairly well-done.  It doesn’t redefine the genre but it’s well-acted, the house is a creepy location, the murders are properly gory and mean-spirited, and the film does what it does with a certain panache.  If you’re a horror fan, there are worse (and, it should be noted, definitely better) ways to waste your time.

Most Likely To Die made its premiere at Film4 FrightFest in 2015 and it had a very limited release earlier this year.  It’s now available on Netflix, where it can be watched by anyone with 80 minutes to kill.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #117: Wuthering High School (dir by Anthony DiBlasi)


Yesterday, I finally got around to watching the latest film from both Lifetime and the Asylum, Wuthering High School!

Wuthering High

Cathy and Heath

 

Why Was I Watching It?

I was late in watching Wuthering High School.  Saturday afternoon, I spent five hours in the Emergency Room, all so I could find out that I have bronchitis.  By the time I finally got home, I was so tired that I slept through the Lifetime premiere of Wuthering High School.  Fortunately, I did DVR it and yesterday, I finally found the time to watch it.

As to why I was watching it — hey, it’s a modern version of Wuthering Heights that’s set in a high school!  And it was produced by the Asylum!

Wuthering Heights, high school, and The Asylum, three of my favorite things.

Seriously, how could I not watch it?

What Was It About?

Wuthering High School is the latest version of Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights.  After his family is deported, Heath (Andrew Jacobs) is adopted by wealthy Mr. Earnshaw (James Caan).  Soon, Earnshaw is viewing Heath as being more of a son to him than his biological child, the drug-addicted Lee (Sean Flynn).  Meanwhile, Heath has fallen in love with Earnshaw’s daughter, Cathy (Paloma Kwiatkowski).  Cathy is struggling to come to terms with the recent death of her mother and soon, she and Heath are skipping school, tearing up school books in slow motion, and getting sentenced to community service.  However, when Cathy rejoins the school’s popular clique of mean girls, she starts to grow distant from Heath.  While Heath plots his revenge, Cathy is pursued by the well-meaning but ineffectual Eddie Linton (Matthew Boehm).

What Worked?

At its heart, Wuthering High School was definitely a “look at the pretty clothes and look at the pretty houses” type of film.  And that’s okay because, ultimately, the clothes and the houses were all very pretty and they were all filmed in very loving detail by director Anthony DiBlasi.  At it’s best, Wuthering High School is a pure celebration of melodramatic style.

Modernizing a classic, 19th century novel is always a risky proposition.  Setting it in a high school is equally dangerous as well.  But I actually liked a few of the ways that Bronte’s story was updated.  For instance, I thought it was brilliant to turn the novel’s gambling addicted Hindley Earnshaw into the film’s drug-addicted Lee Earnshaw.  As well, transforming gypsy Heathcliff into Heath, the son of a deported illegal immigrant, worked far better than I expected that it would.

Among the supporting cast, Matthew Boehm and Francesca Eastwood were both well-cast.  Eastwood, especially, seemed to be having a lot of fun delivering her Mean Girls-style dialogue.  (“That’s not the first time you’ve been wet,” she says after pouring a drink on Cathy.)  And James Caan brought a lot of gravitas to his role.

And, finally, Paloma Kwiatkowski was well-cast as the angry and outspoken Cathy.  Many scenes that should not have worked did work because of Kwiatkowski’s sincere and empathetic performance.

What Did Not Work?

So, with all of those good points that I mentioned above, why wasn’t Wuthering High School as much fun as it should have been?  Ultimately, I think the film’s pacing was just a little bit off.  Certain scenes moved just a bit too slowly while other scenes were finished too quickly and, as a result, the entire film had an oddly rushed feel to it.

As well, I had some issues with the film’s ending.  Obviously, this is going to be a SPOILER so, if you want to be surprised, don’t read any further.  *SPOILER BEGINS* Towards the end of Wuthering High School, Cathy chooses to walk out into the ocean and drowns herself while Heath watches.  We are then left with a montage of everyone mourning, Heath digging up her grave and curling up next to her in a coffin, and Cathy — speaking to us from beyond the grave — saying that she’s now finally been reunited with her mother.   And … seriously?  Obviously, Cathy had to die in order to remain true to the spirit of Wuthering Heights but did she have to commit suicide and, even more importantly, did the film have to suggest that she was better off having done so? *SPOILER ENDS*

Finally, of the many actors to have played Heathcliff over the years, Andrew Jacobs was not exactly the most convincing.  He came across as being more petulant than passionate.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!”  Moments

Oh, I totally related to Cathy.  I always do.

Lessons Learned

Avoid the ocean at all costs.