Tragedy Girls (2017)
R | 1h 30min | Comedy, Horror | 20 October 2017 (USA) | OPENING ALAMO CEDERS 10/27
Synopsis: Best friends Sadie and McKayla are on a mission to boost their social media fandom as amateur crime reporters hot on the trail of a deranged local serial killer. After they manage to capture the killer and secretly hold him hostage, they realize the best way to get scoops on future victims would be to, you know, murder people themselves. As the @TragedyGirls become an overnight sensation and panic grips their small town, can their friendship survive the strain of national stardom? Will they get caught? Will their accounts get verified?
Review: If this generation is looking for a comedy slasher film they can call their own – like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer – TRAGEDY GIRLS would be it. Director Tyler MacIntyre combines all the classic horror cliches with the modern desire for instant online gratification. The social aspect of the movie would be far funnier if it sadly wasn’t so true.
Most everyone knows a Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp). They may dwell down the street, sit across from you in class, or live under your own roof. I doubt that they are up to the same antics as these girls but we still know the type. The familiarity helps ground the story even in the most absurd times. And there are many of those. The story jumps right into the action and without the synopsis below you might not even know why they are doing what they are doing. The fact that they are teenaged, self appointed, crime reporters is vague and soon forgotten. All we know is that they go from zero to crazy in under a minute.
The setting of small town America is used to the advantage of the filmmakers. Everyone knows everyone else and the law enforcement is mediocre at best making it is easy to incite a riot or plan your next victim. If one thing hasn’t changed it is HighSchool life. That tends to be timeless. Using that backdrop for buckets of blood and guts always works. The violence is very graphic and determined but at the same time so very campy that you roll your eyed more than averting them. Which the movie should take as a compliment.
Hildebrand and Shipp are a perfect pair and you will completely buy them as best friends for life even as they are taking others’. Sadie has the best straight face smiley and uses it to keep everyone off guard. It is fun to watch them go from typical teen to savage slasher in the blink of a frame.
If this move has a downfall it is in the fact that it alienated its main audience with the content. The focus on teens and social media would hit home with your 14-17 crowd but the R rating will keep most of those from the theater. Especially in amazing theaters like The Alamo DraftHouse who adhere to strict age group policies. I am not sure 18-20 somethings want to watch a film about High School and anyone older will be too busy comparing it to the “better films of the 90s”. But kudos to the team for trying.
TRAGEDY GIRLS is rated R for strong bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references. I give it 3 out of 5 bone saws. It is very well crafted and directed with solid special effects. As a digital/renter it is perfect. As a box office ticket? Eh not as much.