Essential Opinion: You’re Killing Me

TV’s Dexter Morgan (minus Harry’s code) gets the independent gay film treatment in You’re Killing Me, a horror comedy from 2015.

The film stars Jeffrey Self and Bryan Safi as George and Barnes – YouTube performers with about a thousand views. Matthew McKelligon co-stars as Joe, a socially awkward new fan of George’s – who is newly out as a serial killer.

You’re Killing Me

At the start of the film, Joe is dating a guy named Andy — to the dismay of Andy’s ex-boyfriend Louis — who wants to take their relationship to a more physical level. So Joe “breaks up” with Andy and then tracks down George. George and Joe immediately start dating. But the more serious their relationship gets, the more Joe wants to do all he can to maintain his relationship with George – and the more MIA George’s friends (and others including Joe’s parents) become.

But when Joe starts to tell George about his crimes of passion as acts of love, George just laughs them off – largely because Joe, after all, is really cute. In the meantime, George and Barnes’ friends, who already think Joe is weird, slowly start to suspect that Joe might be the cause of the missing friends and then just as slowly start to piece things together – leaving them to get to Joe before Joe gets to them.

And this is all over the course of ONE week.

While definitely not a parody of TV’s Dexter, the character of Joe is very reminiscent of that show’s leading character and McKelligon is very well-cast in the role. His even cadence, flat line delivery and general lack of expression is a take on that well-known Dexter characterization which works really well here. And McKelligon imbues it with a naiveté that effectively services the dark comedy. Still, there are moments where McKelligon gives off the impression that his character is actually more in on the comedy than we as the audience and the film’s other characters give him credit for.

So while Joe may or may not be as naïve as he seems, the film’s other main characters are just as narcissistic and self-involved as they seem – particularly George and Barnes. This general state of being makes piecing together the Joe story take that much longer and makes the entire process toward doing so that much funnier.

Others in the cast include the reliably funny Drew Droege as Cameron (a friend of George and Barnes), Jack Plotnick as Louis (Andy’s ex-boyfriend), Shaughn Buchholz as Oli (Barnes’ boyfriend), Edi Patterson as Emma (a friend of George and Barnes), Rachel Shukert as Gretchen (George and Barnes’ producing partner), Matthew Wilkas as Andy (Louis’s ex-boyfriend who is dating Joe at the beginning of the movie), Carolyn Hennesy as Candice (Joe’s mother), James Cerne as Teddy (Gretchen’s hunky boyfriend) and Sam Pancake as Dr. Strauss (Joe’s therapist). [Interestingly, Pancake’s scenes were mostly shot from the perspective of Joe – with Joe never fully appearing on camera with him.]

Also making a delightful appearance is Mindy Cohn from TV’s The Facts of Life and the 2010 indie Violet Tendencies as a good Samaritan who may or may not survive her good deed.

You’re Killing Me starts off with a flashback, but the moment we flashed back from comes and goes without much by way of a payoff in terms of why that particular moment was the film’s jumping-off point – thereby making the flashback itself wholly unnecessary. But since that flashback is such an inconsequential part of the film, the storytelling doesn’t get derailed despite that lack of a payoff.

But beyond the dubious flashback, the first 15 minutes of You’re Killing Me leading up to the title sequence is one of the best setups since Scream, Scream 2 and their Scary Movie parody.

You’re Killing Me is a very funny film full of fun characters played by great comedic actors congealing together into an equally fun ensemble who all handle the dark comedy with aplomb and well worth more than one viewing.

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Terrence Moss

Terrence Moss

Screenwriter
Terrence Moss is a Los Angeles-based blogger and writer who works at a media buying agency to pay the bills. He also contributes to the internationally-distributed Kraven Magazine, co-writes a web series called "Child of the 70s" and performs every week at Musical Mondays in West Hollywood. Terrence also watches a lot of old TV shows, gay indie flicks and other web series -- so he's quite single.
Terrence Moss

@the79show

Pessimist. Moody (but mostly grumpy). Staring down the barrel of 40.
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