TRAGEDY GIRLS (2017)
Directed by Tyler MacIntyre
Written by Chris Lee Hill, Tyler MacIntyre, Based On an Original Screenplay by Justin Olson
Starring Alexandra Shipp, Brianna Hildebrand, Josh Hutcherson, Craig Robinson , Kevin Durand, Jack Quaid, Timothy V. Murphy, Nicky Whelan , Austin Abrams, Kerry Rhodes, Marycarmen Lopez
Find out more about this film here, @TragedyGirls, and on Facebook here
While I know I am not the target audience for TRAGEDY GIRLS and a lot of the culture it represents is beyond me, I can recognize the film as a film brimming with energy and fun like few other teen horror films like it. Reminiscent of MTV’s SCREAM series and the almost unwatchable, but undeniably addictive #HORROR, TRAGEDY GIRLS is a film that screams to the teenage girl in all of us.
Sadie (Alexandra Shipp) and McKayla (Brianna Hildbrand) are totes BFF’s and I mean like TOTALLY. They spend every waking sec together and never jelly of any gaggy boys that might ty to wedge between them, like seriously, they don’t do that. SERIOUSLY. When they aren’t together, they are texting and IM-ing each other into the wee hours and their parents, like, put up with them but they totes don’t understand their jones for horror, serial killers, and mass murderers. Seems in between running the prom prep team, student council, and cheerleading squad, Sadie and McKayla have another extra caric as blossoming serial killers themselves. They’ve captured a hulking bro monster (Kevin Durand) who has been murdering teens in their small town and plan on totally living out their dreams of being serial killers themselves by pinning their murders on their captive. But the local law enforcement, so as not make people freak, are like, totally saying the deaths at the hands of Sadie and McKayla are like, literally, and I mean, LITERALLY, accidents. Can you believe it? I mean, WTF? So Sadie and McKayla have to up their game and target the school prom as the perfect place for a mass murder on a MASSIVE scale. But with the pressure from their parents to be safe, the cops intensifying their manhunt, and their captive killer escaping, can Sadie and McKayla still remain friendsies? I mean, like, can they?
Okay, if reading that last paragraph annoyed you, this movie is not going to be for you. I almost threw up on myself writing it. The thing is, though, TRAGEDY GIRLS is teen generation’s HEATHERS. Just as outcasts Winona and Christian plotted to murder and kill, so do Sadie and McKayla. It’s just that the hyperactivity and use of technology is heightened to match that of the current culture. This film serves as a fantastic cross section of today’s social media obsessed teen world who would rather gather likes than anything else and fame is something that has to be achieved no matter what the cost. Sadie and McKayla are sociopaths, so focused on their status that nothing else matters and this film exemplifies that in a pretty amazing way. There is a hint of morality at play here, as Sadie and McKayla almost seem to understand what they are becoming and what their antics are doing to others, but it’s only a hint, suggesting that that is simply the way this new generation is—vapid, self-centered, and utterly selfish. Much like the new rock stars of American culture aka politicians, all altruistic or generous gestures made by these two are simply to gain status, not gain a fullness of heart. While it stands as a sad statement on society, it does make for an amazing basis for a horror film and as long as these status obsessed shallow puddles steer clear from me in the real world, I’m watch them in a film like this.
Director Tyler MacIntyre keeps everything moving at a staccato rate, never lingering too long for much emotion to be had and even moments that are supposed to be resonant are quickly underscored with a snarky or snide comment. MacIntyre populates his scenes with animated hearts and likes any time his two deviant protagonists move across the frame and really doesn’t leave a moment for the viewer to stop to breathe from beginning to end by filling every second with action, modern word play, or something horrific. Still, the sincerity and conviction of the performances by Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand are pretty infectious. Both are beautiful and talented actresses who command the frame every time they are in it, making this film addictive to devour. Much like potato chips, I must admit I wanted to see more of these two and their misadventures by the time of the curtain call.
Plus this one has Craig Robinson (who also helped produce the film) as a guest star who has a pretty hilarious scene with the two girls in a gym. So there’s that. TRAGEDY GIRLS is going to make old people feel older. It’s going to make teen girls feel empowered and recognized. And if you’re somewhere in between, I think it’ll entertain most. The real horror of this film is that there are people out there who are equally, if not more, self-centered and shallow, so focused on themselves starring in their own reality show rather than living in a world shared by many people with many voices, all deserving of respect and recognition. So while it’s entertaining and boppy, funny and often times gory, violent and modern, TRAGEDY GIRLS scariest trait is that it reflects the world pretty accurately.