Guess Who (2024) Review
With their new horror thriller Guess Who, Tubi may finally have come up with a fairly original idea for one of their films. As far as I can tell, it’s the first film to use mummering as a major plot point. No, not mummies, mummering.
What is mummering? Mummering is a Christmas-time house-visiting tradition practised in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ireland, the City of Philadelphia, and parts of the United Kingdom. It adds a touch of Halloween to the season as people would dress in disguise and go door to door. If they were invited in, they’d give some kind of performance while their hosts tried to guess who they were.
Michael (Corteon Moore, From, Slasher) and Kaitlyn (Keeya King, Detective Knight: Rogue, Van Helsing), his fiancée, are driving out to meet his family when they have to stop for gas. She’s desperate enough to use the bathroom, helpfully labelled “The Shitter”, only to get attacked by a masked man who steals her necklace.
Michael, who already wants to back out, tries to use this as a reason to turn around, but she won’t hear of it. They’ve barely arrived at the trailer park where he grew up and met his mother Edith (Elizabeth Saunders, It, Girl) when Kaitlyn recognizes Warren (Ryan Bommarito, Moonfall, Holy Hell) as the man who attacked her. She gets her necklace back, but it creates some tension.
After meeting the rest of Michael’s family, his brother Bobby (Gabriel Darku, Zombie at 17, The Great Christmas Switch) who is just out of jail and his sister Sofia (Vanessa Jackson, Dark Phoenix, Rabid) and her girlfriend Taylor (Amanda Ip, Autumn and the Black Jaguar, A Christmas in Switzerland) it’s time for mummers and parties.
Guess Who was written by Matt Wells (Paranormal Nightshift, Crown and Anchor) along with Ian Carpenter and Aaron Martin who collaborated on Tubi’s reboot of Terror Train and its sequel as well as Marry F*** Kill and the TV series Slasher. So it will be no surprise that behind one of the masks is a murderer rather than a mummer. Director Amelia Moses (Bleed With Me, Bloodthirsty) does a decent job with what is pretty much a variation on Terror Train until the script goes off the rails and pushes the slasher plot into the background.
Instead, it pivots to a revenge plot against Kaitlyn and her father Norman (Chimwemwe Miller, Brick Mansions, Hunger) whom they blame for closing the local factory, which led to the locals being thrown into poverty and the suicide of Micheal’s father. Given how often his death and the closing of the plant are mentioned, I figured they would fit into the plot, and hybrid crime/horror films aren’t all that uncommon. But Guess Who never really integrates the two, and the ransom angle seems to pop out of nowhere.
After this, the film’s last act turns into a chaotic and violent series of confrontations and revelations, half of which seem to come out of nowhere. It’s not boring, but it’s not nearly as good as the first hour. And the less said about the ending, the better. Not only has it been done many times before, it rarely works, and this is no exception. It wants to be edgy and nihilistic, but just comes off as stupid and clichéd.
Given the talent involved in making Guess Who, it should have been one of the service’s better films. Moore and King both give solid performances, even after the plot starts falling apart. Amelia Moses has proven she can direct an above average horror flick. Unfortunately, the script’s inability to decide what it wants to be lets them down. It’s still watchable, especially if you’re getting it free, but it’s nothing special either.
Guess Who is available free to watch on Tubi in the US.