Slashers are a ripe breeding ground for the slaughter of teenagers. Since the subgenre’s emergence in horror, we’ve watched countless teens die at the hands of a masked killer. Cut at the height of their youth, we both cheer and mourn the loss of these lives. But seldom are the teen characters developed enough for us to fully invest in their fate. In co-writer/director Jonas Trukanas’s directorial debut, WE MIGHT HURT EACH OTHER, care is taken in letting the audience get to know this group of teens. This makes the subsequent bloodbath more impactful in the long run.

In Lithuania’s first slasher, we are introduced to a gang of high school graduates with bright futures ahead of them. Well, all of them except for the mostly invisible Marius (Šarūnas Rapolas Meliešius). Barely acknowledged by his classmates and with parents that seem more invested in the class’s star athlete Rimas (Kipras Mašidlauskas), there is an undercurrent of desperation for Marius to capture the attention he craves. When the class trip’s original venue falls through, Marius steps in to offer up a cabin that his mom has been struggling to sell off due to its sus history. From here, the tropes set up the expectation for what’s to come.

Character is key in WE MIGHT HURT EACH OTHER

Making up the core group of high schoolers is the jock, Rimas, the love interest, Brigita (Gabija Bargailaitė), the quiet nerd, Saulė (Saulė Rašimaitė), the best friend, Vytas (Povilas Jatkevičius), and the resident stoner, Zygis (Martynas Berulis). Throughout the first half or so of WE MIGHT HURT EACH OTHER, there is decent investment in developing these characters beyond their archetypes. We’re given a chance to get to know the characters, develop connections with them, and cringe when they decide to destroy the folk art statues placed at the cabin location.

Much like their youthful selves, these art figures are still relatively unmarked by the world. It isn’t until the high schoolers destroy the figures, leaving their own mark on these otherwise tabula rasa-like statues that their fates are sealed. When you mark something precious, it has a way of coming back and marking you ten times over.

As for the slasher villain, less time is spent on the character outside of a backstory. But the villain almost serves as a reflection of Marius. We all have our breaking points, and Marius reaches his during the events of WE MIGHT HURT EACH OTHER. As the only one who doesn’t destroy a figure, he is also the one that remains unmarked. Arguably, I would have loved to have seen this connection between the killer and Marius explored more, but it’s not a detriment to the overall story.

A sight for sore eyes

Once the slashening starts up, there’s plenty of joy to be had by the meanness exhibited in the killer’s dispatching of victims. Because, while we grow attached to the characters, they are not perfect. In fact, sometimes they are downright awful. During the chaos, the true nature of each character is revealed, and by the end of the night, everyone comes into their own. They just might not survive it.

What helps us see in the darkness of these scenes is how cinematographer Rokas Sydeikis captures the escapades. WE MIGHT HURT EACH OTHER takes place partially at nighttime, which has its challenges. Between the lighting and the set-up of certain shots, Sydeikis makes it clear what it is we are seeing without compromising the natural darkness and shadows that they’re dealing with.

The special effects created by Pijus Tamulevicius reveal a lot of potential. Working with a small budget in an isolated space, it’s clear the creativity is there, but imperfect execution. In one particular scene, his work is showcased for better or worse. Because of how slowly the character is being killed, it doesn’t come across as polished. But the effect still manages to unsettle. I’d love to see what Tamulevicius can do with a budget.

A mean streak

The meanness of the screenplay reaches full maturation within the last 10 minutes of WE MIGHT HURT EACH OTHER. Featuring a polarizing ending, it easily conjures up lessons on social responsibility, the allure of attention, and more. Whether or not you like the outcome, it will make you think long and hard.

Full of betrayal, growth, love, and pain, WE MIGHT HURT EACH OTHER is a strong slasher coming out of Lithuania. It takes the tropes we know and builds on them, leading to much-needed connection and the development of characters that would have easily been dismissed. While the ending polarizes and the actual slasher component could have been longer, it is a good showcase of talent that should not be ignored.


Sarah Musnicky
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