Movie Review: One last Iconic Anne Heche Image, and a lot of bodies — “You’re Killing Me”

Eden REALLY wants to go to college, and not just any college, but tony Pembroke.

As widowed Dad runs a septic tank service, she’s going to need help.

That’s why the “scholarship girl” hits up her rich private school classmate for a good word. His dad’s a Congressman and on the college’s board. That’s why she refuses to accept snobby Schroder’s brush-offs. That’s why she talks her bestie into joining her for a party the rich kid is throwing. That’s why they’ve donned contrasting “angel” costumes in black and white. It’s a “themed” “heaven and hell” party.

And that party’s where BFF Zara gets drunk and Eden, working that rich boy hard for that help getting into Pembroke, sees what’s on a cell phone — footage of a classmate who disapppeared the week before, possibibly incriminating evidence involving the rich and the powerful.

This self-described “smart” girl is going to be put to the test, trying to escape the clutches of the criminally implicated, people who know what she thinks she knows and are damned sure not letting her get out of there to tell the tale.

“You’re Killing Me” is a tight formulaic thriller with snatches of suspense, struggling through panic problem-solving, a somewhat high body count and a final iconic and seriously badass image of the late Anne Heche, paired with Dermot Mulroney as the parents of the rich, creepy teen named after a “Peanuts” character.

McKaley Miller of “Ma” and TV’s “Hart of Dixie” is Eden, the girl who knows what she wants and won’t let her insulted feelings keep her from imploring Schroder (Brice Anthony Heller, perfectly vile) to intervene on her behalf. Keyara Milliner is Zara, the besty who rides into this party with her — “It’ll be FUN!” — takes one for the team and gets Mickeyed by Schroder’s ride-or-die, Gooch (Will Deusner).

Eden is so self-centered she sets Zara up to be date-raped. But as she finally shoos away Gooch, he’s the doofus who drops his phone. As the film’s opening images were of a teen girl being video-recorded, and the cops showing up at school looking for information on missing Melissa, Eden’s quick to do the math.

She locks herself, the losing-its-charge cell phone (It’s a phone-free party–Congressman’s rules.) and Zara into a bedroom, and makes her panicked first mistake. She lets Schroder know she knows what’s on the phone, even as she won’t let him in.

The “party” devolves” into a desperate struggle to procure a charger and use that phone to call for help and alert the police about what’s on it, or for the bad boys and Schroder’s track-jock girlfriend (Morgana Van Peebles) to bust in, get that phone, and at least cover their tracks, if not worse.

The antagonists are well-enough matched, and the supporting players — especially Mulroney and Heche — give this straightforward escape-or-die picture higher stakes and sinister undertones.

Co-directors Beth Hanna and Jerren Lauder keep it moving fast enough that when characters in the Walker Hare, Brad Martocello script lose common sense in moments of panic, it’s more understandable than eye-rollable.

Yes, while we can guess where this is going on more than one occasion, we can’t always. And even when we do, there’s something damned satisfying on a visceral level to the punch, counter-punch scheming and clawing of it all.

Rating: unrated, pretty violent

Cast: McKaley Miller, Brice Anthony Heller, Keyara Milliner, Morgana Van Peebles, Will Deusner, Dermot Mulroney and Anne Heche.

Credits: Directed by Beth Hanna and Jerren Lauder, scripted by Walker Hare, Brad Martocello A Quiver release.

Running time: 1:34


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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