Tragedy Girls (Fantasia International Film Festival) (Movie Review)
Long gone are the days of the old school slashers, replaced by over-the-top throwbacks and comedically modern takes on the old tropes. Tragedy Girls joins the latter as a Mean Girls meets Scream meets [Any lumbering 80's slasher] horror comedy.
United in their obsession for internet fame and murder, McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) and Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) have a vision for how to leave a mark on their small Midwest community. After stalking an up and coming serial killer, Lowell (Kevin Durand), and taking him hostage the pair decide to take his killing spree into their own hands to boost their social media presence and rattle their small town.
Tyler MacIntyre directed from a script he wrote with Chris Lee Hill and Justin Olson that roasts our obsession with social media attention in search of our time in the limelight. More specifically it focuses on the younger generations use of internet in every aspect of their lives. In the process though MacIntyre has struck a hilarious chord and balance between the over-the-top violence and generational humor.
The slasher angle sets the stage for some wicked kills. McKayla and Sadie aren't exactly pros when it comes to killing so their escapades are written off by local law enforcement as tragic accidents as the situations often end with their victims finding ways to kill themselves--shades of Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil and Final Destination. Their efforts to convince the town and the police of the immanent danger escalates in fun yet twisted ways as the humor too takes on a fairly warped sensibility, but is in keeping with the overall tone.
Deadpool fans will get a kick out of Negasonic Teenage Warhead's (Hildebrand) change from quiet/angsty superhero-in-training to sociopathic teen blabbermouth. It's easy to forget amongst the bloodhsed that there's a solid foundation to a story about friendship at the film's core which finds clever ways to manifest itself in the final act of the film. The strong female traits are often few and far between with films such as this but Sadie and McKayla could very well force a wedge in some of the more memorable pair within the genre--even if the film itself might be too small to break into the mainstream.
Borrowing bits and pieces from a variety of genre bins, Tragedy Girls Macgyvers its way into being one of the more surprising horror comedies in recent memory. The film is a clever frappe of twisted horror, dark and pulpy humor that has the potential to appeal to normies and genre vets alike.
Screened as part of the 2017 Fantasia Film Festival.