Tragedy Girls

Studio: Gunpowder & Sky
Directed by Tyler MacIntyre

Oct 24, 2017 Web Exclusive
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It’s all too often that horror films tend to be unkind to the female heroine as she experiences horrible hardship or, even worse, a gruesome death at the hands of a knife-wielding maniac. Tragedy Girls is wicked and witty, as this teen slasher has viewers follow around death-obsessed Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp). Bored with high school and the banality of their small, mid-western town, our BFFs decide to make a name for themselves as modern horror legends by the end of their senior year. Think: a millennial version of Scream where instead of Sidney Prescott as our lead, the lens focuses on Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. No loser boys, though – alternatively, we are treated to two pretty and popular sociopaths who juggle cheerleading, prom committee, and an imprisoned serial killer as they plan a murder spree to boost their social media presence. It’s shallow and mean, and maybe not as groundbreaking as Scream, but’s a hell of a good time.

The chemistry between Sadie and McKayla is the best strength of the film. Bloody carnage aside, Tragedy Girls at its core is a story of female friendship and the close bonds built in high school. Tyler MacIntyre does the impossible and finds a way for the audience to connect with these unpleasant girls. It’s a film with a surprising amount of heart as it’s easy to forget that our charming leads are narcissistic killers. Although the chemistry between the ladies is fleshed out the gendered and typical high school tropes of the slasher genre might be a bit of a setback for audiences expecting a bit more elevation. However, high school girls aren’t exactly notorious for being the nicest. Even our volunteer oriented, library box building good girl Syl (Savannah Jade) is fiercely nasty. Sadie and McKayla are jealous and mean-spirited, they fight over boys and their dependency on each other creates obvious tension. Teenage girls get mad at each other, hurl cruel taunts, and make up. It might be a tad bit too predictable, but it doesn’t spoil the candy-colored horror behind MacIntyre’s stylish frenzy.

While the foreseeable and cruel end of the film might turn off a few viewers, Tragedy Girls is able to balance out the mean-spirited nature with gory gags. Most of the violent deaths on screen are made for laughs over terror which further asserts the film's vicious, yet lighthearted tone. No murder plan ever goes smoothly and sometimes our victims do not go down easily. This could normally present nauseating results, but the hectic and sloppy horror depicted has more slapstick elements over traditional gore. It’s ultimately the friendship and strong female leads that present a more interesting story with the massacre taking a back seat. MacIntyre and co-writer Chris Lee Hill’s script may not present new ideas to the genre, but it’s a fun horror-comedy for our social media age.

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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