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Film / You Might Be the Killer

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You Might Be the Killer is an unrated horror-comedy which was released on the Shudder streaming network in 2018 and came out on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2019.

The movie has its origins in a twitter thread between authors Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes, where they roleplayed as a camp counselor being pursued by a serial killer calling a friend for advice about how to survive. The idea was then developed into a film by director Brett Simmons, with actors Alyson Hannigan and Fran Kranz in the leading roles.

The plot of the film concerns Sam (Fran Kranz), the hapless lead counselor at Camp Clear Vista, getting caught in the middle of a massacre carried out by a Vorhees-like masked killer. He calls his horror-loving friend Chuck (Alyson Hannigan) for advice on how to survive; but after hearing the details of his situation, Chuck posits that Sam may in fact himself be the killer.

The twitter thread which inspired the film can be found here, but be advised that it will spoil many of the movie's twists.

You Might Be The Killer contains examples of:

  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Sam claims to have gotten covered in the blood of the killer's victims due to being nearby when they were killed. Chuck finds this suspicious and lists it as evidence that Sam might be the killer.
  • Brick Joke: After Chuck tells Sam that the killer always dies at the hands of the Final Girl, she then tries to reassure him that the killer usually comes back to life after a few years for the sequel. The film's coda, set two years later, has an undead Sam calling Chuck for help again.
  • Bury Your Gays: One of the counselors, Nancy, mentions that she wants to go to culinary school with her girlfriend. She's murdered by the killer shortly afterwards.
  • The Cameo: Keith David briefly shows up as the voice of the sheriff.
  • Cool Mask: The Wood Carver's mask looks pretty unique for a horror movie villain. Plus, it gives the wearer superhuman qualities and is indestructible.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: After Chuck explains how slasher movies usually end with only one Final Girl surviving, one of the potential victims tries exploiting this knowledge. Imani believes that if she kills Jaime, she'll become the final girl by default. The attempt results in her being killed instead.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: The film is set at a remote woodlands camp, 25 miles from the nearest town, which comes under attack by a slasher villain.
  • Evil Mask: The woodcutter's mask, which compels anyone wearing it to go on a murder spree.
  • Faking the Dead: After being non-lethally injured by the killer, one of the counselors pretends to be dead so that the killer will move on to another target.
  • Final Girl: This trope is discussed in detail, with Chuck explaining that the purest and most innocent girl will probably kill the killer and the sole survivor in the end, and pegs Jamie as the most likely candidate. Imani tries to exploit this by killing Jamie so she can be the final girl instead, but fails.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the start of Sam's first flashback, the dead counselor body count on-screen rapidly scrolls backwards from 'a lot' to 'zero'. If you watch very closely, it goes from 'a lot' to 'eight'. If you pay attention later on, Sam says it's at nine, including Imani. It's a clue that as of Sam's first phone call to Chuck, one of the counselors isn't as dead as he thinks.
  • Furniture Blockade: The movie opens with Sam hiding from the killer in a cabin. He secures it by moving furniture in front of the door.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Chuck is a girl, despite it usually being a boy's name. It's short for Charlotte.
  • Genre Savvy: Chuck, a horror movie fan who works at a comic store. The reason Sam calls her is that he figures her knowledge of the horror genre might help him survive the slasher movie situation he finds himself in.
  • Improvised Weapon: At one point, Imani and Jamie enter a tool shed, and spend a while discussing the relative merits and downsides of how the various items within can be used as improvised weapons.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The killer's weapon of choice is a jagged knife which appears to have been fashioned from a crocodile jaw.
  • In-Series Nickname: Everyone calls Steve "the Kayak King", even though he points out that he teaches canoeing rather than kayaking.
  • Irony: While Sam and Chuck are obviously named after the authors, they both share names with the killers from horror movies: Sam (short for Samhain) from Trick 'r Treat and Chucky from Child's Play
  • It's for a Book: When one of the customers in Chuck's store overhears her talking about the murders at Camp Clear Vista, she claims that it's a creative writing assignment for school.
  • The Killer in Me: After Sam describes to Chuck how a killer has been murdering the counselors, Chuck raises the possibility that Sam himself might be the killer without realizing it. Sam has indeed been committing the killings, while possessed by the evil woodcutter's mask.
  • Mr. Exposition: Chuck, who spends the movie explaining horror tropes to Sam over the phone, refers to herself at one point as being a source of exposition.
  • Number of the Beast: The price of a sale Chuck rings up while speaking on the phone with Sam comes to $26.66. The director's commentary confirms that the number was chosen deliberately to evoke the Number of the Beast.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": After the killer steals the phones from the box they were locked in, Sam says that's impossible because he's the only one who knew the combination... then Imani asks if the combination was his birthday. It was.
  • Pit Trap: The camp counselors dig a pit, place wooden spikes at the bottom, and cover it with leaves in an attempt to lure the killer into a trap. It doesn't work.
  • Police Are Useless: When Chuck asks Sam why he doesn't call the police, Sam says that the local sheriff is an elderly man who doesn't answer his phone at night.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Sam's rambling story about Camp Clear Vista's history involves an evil spirit being imprisoned by a tree by a medicine man, the tree being cut down and carved into a mask by a woodcutter, and the mask being buried in the woodcutter's grave. None of the other counselors take it seriously.
  • Shout-Out: References are made to a number of classic slasher movies. In particular, the plot with a masked killer hunting camp counselors at a lake camp is a clear reference to the Friday the 13th series.
  • Shovel Strike: One of the counselors, Jamie, ends up with a shovel as her improvised weapon of choice.
  • Synchronization: Once the woodcutter's mask imprints on a person, any damage done to the mask is suffered by that person as well.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Drew thinks that finding the woodcutter's mask is just a camp initiation prank, and puts it on Sam so suddenly that he can't stop her. This gets her murdered less than a minute later)
  • Vehicular Sabotage: The killer destroys the engine of the counselors' car so they can't escape the camp.
  • Working with the Ex: One of Sam's fellow counsellors, Imani, is his ex-girlfriend. Sam still has feelings for her, while Imani regards their time together as a mere fling and isn't interested in reigniting their relationship.