Review by Cole Groth
There are flashes of a solid slasher/thriller in You’re Killing Me. It’s a story of a cunning young woman who finds herself in a cat-and-mouse fight for her life against asshole teenagers and other despicable characters. There’s some great gore and finely intense scenes, but it ultimately derails in a third act that is needlessly aggressive and frustrating.
You’re Killing Me tells the story of Eden Murphy (McKaley Miller). Eden’s trying to get into an elite university (which strangely doesn’t exist in real life) and is stonewalled by alpha bro Barrett Schroder (Brice Anthony Heller) when asking him for a letter of recommendation from his politician father. After fearing rejection, she forces her best friend Zara (Keyara Milliner) to come to a “Heaven and Hell” party to butter up Barrett.
At the party, Eden stumbles upon the phone of one of Barrett’s awful friends, revealing that Barrett and two of his friends were potentially responsible for the disappearance of a student earlier that week. With this knowledge, Eden finds herself trapped in a violent fight for her life as her adversaries try to convince her to give up the phone.
Like many recent movies, this sports a good premise, and for the most part, it works pretty well. The dialogue between the would-be killers and Eden is pretty good. While the villains don’t quite act like regular people, it’s not noticeably terrible. There are some good chase sequences written into the script and decent scares.
As mentioned earlier, the biggest problem this film suffers from is a ridiculous third act. What starts as a mostly tame series of scares turns into an aggressive series of gory kills. It seems largely unnecessary because the rest of the film works well as a realistic set of events.
With mostly unknown actors appearing here, it should be noted that the acting is very good. McKaley Miller stands out as an excellent lead, who believably portrays the fear of a teen girl being hunted down by other douchey teenagers. Brice Anthony Heller and his two friends, played by Will Deusner and Morgana Van Peebles, are intimidating and fun villains. Dermot Mulroney and the late Anne Heche make strong supporting performances, but only appear in the last act.
Overall, this is a fine horror experience with a solid premise. The somewhat boring first act and annoying third act are mostly made up for by a solid second act. As far as 2023 movies go, this one will fall toward the middle of the pack as a forgettable thriller. Big fans of horror will probably enjoy this, but regular audiences won’t find this to be that entertaining. In a theatrical scene where big ideas are so paramount to the success of a film, You’re Killing Me is alright.
You’re Killing Me releases in theaters and on VOD starting April 7.