There’s been a recent spate of mainstream horror movies built around modern social media platforms. Most are fun, but fall into the “one and done” watch category.
They’re usually not very unique once the blood starts flying and most are accidentally amusing because of the huge holes in the storyline, work too hard to prove it’s relevant, and have at least one jump scare that’ll catch you unawares (it’s usually not the one the director thinks it is or the one they hoped would be the “gotcha moment” either). You don’t, however, leave the movie theater feeling like you got your horror movie fix. And then there are the independent horror films coming down the pipeline that holistically embraces incorporating social media into its story as more than just a trendy plot device…
Enter, Tragedy Girls a kick-ass slasher movie that brings the blood and gore with more than a few hat tips to some of the best of the horror genre’s B-movie roots. It’s a refreshingly original concept that offers up a great plot that strikes a fantastic balance between being a great hack and slash flick and serving up some serious dark comedy gold. Tyler MacIntyre’s direction coupled with this script, by Chris Lee Hill & Tyler MacIntyre, builds a film revolving around serial death, the bonds of friendship, and the phenomenon of obsessive slavery to all things social media set in the small-town US that you have to see to believe.
Best friends Sadie and McKayla are coming of age in the power of social media stardom and easy access to a worldwide audience just waiting for the next online sensation. These two death-obsessed high school Seniors are intent on achieving the coveted goal: “verified” social media account. The budding psychopaths are just one captive serial killer, an impressive body count and one dissolved corpse away from the insta-fame they crave. But when their would-be serial killer mentor refuses to fall in line with their plans, this diabolically peppy duo decides take matters (and knives) into their own hands.
Novice crime reporters, avid mayhem junkies, Sadie and McKayla are hiding some serious dark and twisty behind their perfectly puckered lips and pom-poms. They’re so cheery it’s disturbing attitude, keen intellect, and dedication to launching themselves into the spotlight (and staying there at all costs) not only leads to some wickedly planned and executed murders but tests their loyalty to the cause and to each other. This is far from a simple story but all the differnt plot points work together so seamlessly that you’re never pulled from the action, not even when it’s time for the prom committee meeting.
I couldn’t stop watching, laughing and waiting to see what harebrained scheme these demented darlings came up with next. Tragedy Girls expertly uses “the coming of age” teen movie tropes to great comedic effect and balancing it out with an inventive use of genre staples that deliberately lean into the camp of a good slasher film. Their self-involved quest to be murder media mavens is the perfect backdrop for this hack and slash high school drama. The entire plot progression is on point right out the gate with an opening that would make both Jason Voorhees and Gloria Steinem (nothing like girls doing it for themselves I tell you) proud and doesn’t let up until the end credits roll. It’s got twists, turns and red herrings galore but the real gems are the subtle subversive pokes at the perception of how girls should behave when a killer’s on the loose.
Tragedy Girls is 96 minutes of perfectly timed dark humor delivered with satirical flair and more than enough blood, gore, and viscera to solidify its slasher movie cred. Boasting a cast of highly (pleasantly so) recognizable veterans and up-and-comers lead by Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand, this film is perfect for your post-Halloween horror movie- marathon needs. With a vibrant look, dialed-in performances that elevate the material without forgetting to keep in mind it’s camp slasher movie roots, it’s a welcome infusion of new life into the genre. I enjoyed the heck out of this film and it’s definitely going into my collection.
Tragedy Girls doesn’t try too hard or take itself too seriously and it makes for some excellent and hilarious havoc-wrecking that I strongly suggest you gift yourself with this weekend.
Digital Gym and Horrible Imaginings Film Festival are co-sponsoring a limited run of Tragedy Girls starting today, November 3rd through November 9th. The first screening is tonight at 5:45 pm.
But if you’re not living in So Cal, you can check here to see if this hilariously crafted horror satire is coming to a theater near you.
Grade: A –