By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
These days, it feels as if deconstruction of the horror genre is about as popular a direction for aspiring genre directors as pure horror itself. Can’t wait until it’s deconstruction of the deconstruction time.
Whatever that entails, you know Joss Whedon will be involved.
Tragedy Girls almost qualifies as such, as two horror-saturated and social media-crazed high school girls (Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand) set out to be just the best at murdering folks, YOLO!
Director Tyler MacIntyre packs this film with plenty of candy-colored, 80s slasher heyday throwback style, and his film editor background clearly shows in the energetic cutting and the way it melds with the snappy dialogue of his and Chris Lee Hill’s callback-laden script.
Shipp and Hildebrand deliver two committed lead performances as the wanna-be serial killer duo at the heart of the film, and the supporting cast/victim list has not a few famous face ringers like Josh Hutcherson & Craig Robinson, not to mention Kevin Durand’s fun turn as a redneck/Jason serial killer hybrid who the girls take a shine to/kidnap to teach them the ropes of mass murdering. It’s clear everyone’s having a ton of fun, and the film is filled with amusing nuggets like the prom’s theme, “A Night to Remember”, complete with sinking Titanic imagery.
Finally, for those slasher fans looking for their fix, the kills are nearly comically gross and gory- and there are plenty of them.
The 80s-influenced style and the social media infatuated present day setting don’t mix the greatest, or maybe I just really didn’t like the social media infatuation part (it’s as grating as you’d hope/expect/dread it to be).
Do we have to deal with this in our politics and entertainment?
Tragedy Girls is maybe not as clever as it thinks it is- sure, it’s manic and full of horror references, but its pleasures are surface deep. You can see the plot wheels turning, and nothing feels particularly weighty or consequential.
Tragedy Girls features two girls who might usually be the victims of a slasher flick as the very enthusiastic slashers themselves, and clearly has a lot of fun doing it.
Tragedy Girls (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every reference to social media
Take a Drink: for every kill
Take a Drink: whenever the central duo say something gloriously bitchy
Do a Shot: for body cleanup scenes (you’ll need it)