In order to successfully parody a genre, one requires a deep knowledge of the subject as well as an understanding of what makes it work on screen. While You Might Be the Killer has certainly achieved the first (displaying it in a manner which unfortunately comes across as more obnoxious than anything else), it deeply lacks the latter, much to its detriment. The film desperately wants to be to Friday the 13th what Scream was to Halloween, but simply fails at every hurdle.
Through its fractured retrospective, and oftentimes unreliable narrative, the film follows camp counsellor Sam (Fran Kranz) who, having suffered numerous blackouts and finding himself surrounded by dead bodies, attempts to piece together his night with the help of his horror-obsessed friend, Chuck (Alyson Hannigan). The film entirely hinges on this dialogue between Kranz and Hannigan, but sadly their performances don’t do enough to carry the film as both come across as very one-note. This works somewhat for Kranz, as his almost self-deprecating awareness helps in some scenes – but hinders massively in others. The same cannot be said for Hannigan and it seems as though she wishes she would rather be doing anything else. At one point she comments that “exposition is her middle name”, which would be funny if it weren’t so painfully true.
In the five words of its title, You Might Be the Killer gives away every aspect of its plot, which if it didn’t, it would probably leave the audience more infuriated than anything else as the film is neither subtle in its approach nor its delivery. Everything is incredibly on-the-nose; whereas other parody films like Scream appreciate the intelligence of its audience, this film does not, preferring instead to just name-drop or having posters referring to works that came before it rather than showing any kind of interesting reference.
The moments of subversion that the film attempts are not totally unsuccessful. The fact that the film is told from the perspective of the killer is refreshing at first, but quickly grows stale as the film proceeds. Similarly, the denouement tries something different, bucking the trend that most slasher films follow, but it feels weak and lacklustre considering the rest of the movie.
Perhaps worst of all is the fact that the film is painfully boring. Were it not for its distorted narrative and the fact that everything has a grainy celluloid feel, then You Might Be the Killer would be little more than standard B-movie schlock. Unfortunately, due to its attempt at self awareness and parody, it is simply unfunny, unscary and an unfulfilling way to spend one’s time.