Many seek fame through video blogs and social networks, but one of the best ways to succeed in the media is to talk about what you are passionate about and/or what you know best, in the case of Sadie and McKayla, that theme would be real-life serial killers. How much do they know about it? More than enough to capture a real serial killer, try to convince him to be their mentor and to help them to create a new bloody legend in their little sleepy town.
To the girls’ dismay, apparently getting lot likes and subscribers is not that easy when you are not releasing raunchy pictures, and after seeing that a couple of deaths that should gain more views for their blog are just dismissed by the community as freak accidents, the duo decides to step up their murders, specially when other people for one reason or another end up stealing the spotlight that Sadie and McKayla believe their project deserves. This starts to look suspicious to Jake, Sadie’s best friend (zoned) that also by an amazing coincidence is the sheriff’s son and the editor for the girls’ project.
“Tragedy Girls” is the new film directed by Tyler MacIntyre (Patchwork) that could be defined as a mix between “Clueless” and “American Psycho”. Although there was a moment where I felt it lost the way, it ends up being a very entertaining comedy film, that also gives a respectful tribute to the slasher genre.
As often happen in these movies, there are references to the genre’s classics, some are obvious, like the fact that the last name of both main characters are the same of two famous directors, although the film this does not reach the levels of “Night Of The Creeps” (where every single character’s last name was a shout out). The film never tries to win the audience by just repeating iconic phrases from other films, nor based its humor in just repeating or parodying classic scenes, in fact the film manages to provide a couple of funny one liners of its own.
Clearly conscious of itself, “Tragedy Girls” has no trouble using blood and gore, and manages to use very effectively the violence to create several funny moments, but it never goes for the easy shock with scenes of bad taste, nor tries to create useless controversy. The practical special effects were very good, but some CGI effects felt weird, specially when using the green screen (some scenes I know it was intentional, other I wasn’t so sure) still, there was nothing to make me stop watching the film.
I thought the performances by Brianna Hildebrand as Sadie and Alexandra Shipp as McKayla were very good, and the way their characters complement each other felt very natural. My geek side make chuckle when I realized that both actresses have played roles on the X-Men cinematic universe (Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead in “Dead Pool” and Shipp as Ororo/Storm in “X-men Apocalypse) and that the serial killer they chose as mentor was portrayed by Kevin Durand, who played the Blob in the first “Wolverine” solo movie.
…Yes, I got no life.
One of the things that stood out to me was Jake’s character, portrayed by Jake Quaid, and I am not saying that his acting was bad, I just felt his physical appearance was too old to portray a 17-ish guy, funny enough there is a mention that his character was held back a year, which I guess it would be the writers’ way to mock the fact that in horror films a lot of the times high school students are played by actors almost in their 30s. There is another character played by Josh Hutcherson that could fall in this same trope, but his character also has another function. I’ll leave it at that so you can draw your own conclusions. I am conscious that Hildebrand and Shipp are older that their characters, but they they can pull it off very easily and they look cute…and yes, I am kinda of biased.
The performance by the rest of the cast was good, although it may feel a little over the top at times, obviously in a intentional way to remark that most of the people at Rosedale are not very bright, something that gets constantly frustrating for the girls, as they see their efforts not getting the desired results.
The pacing of the film is good, but like I said, at moments felt like it gets lost, like if the writers didn’t know how far they could push the envelope and decided to play it somehow safe, luckily for us, they did not pull away from the blood and gore. I think this issue is more noticeable with the idea around “the mentor” that at first seems like the main plot, but gets pushed back and only resurfaces to put the film back on track in the last act.
In conclusion, “Tragedy Girls” is very good comedy/slasher that without becoming a parody gives proper homage to the genre. It has lot jokes that actually land, without resorting to scatological humor, or treating the audience like idiots, it even manages to send a subtle criticque to the addiction of social networks, the fame/impact of the so-called influencers and the generational gap.
The film was directed by Tyler MacIntyre, who also co-wrote the script with Chris Lee Hill, based on the idea of Justin Olson. The cast includes Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp, Jake Quaid, Kevin Durand, Craig Robinson, Nicky Whelan and Josh Hutcherson.