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'Tragedy Girls' Is A Slick Modern Slasher That Combines A Retro-Kitsch Style With Pitch-Perfect Execution

By James Jay Edwards
Released: November 3, 2017
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Synopsis
A twist on the slasher genre following two death-obsessed teenage girls who use their online show about real-life tragedies to send their small mid-western town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends.

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Film Review
Production
What do you get when an up-and-coming writer-director team casts a couple of superhero movie (kinda) stars in a horror comedy? You get Tragedy Girls, that's what.

Tragedy Girls is about a pair of high school girls named Sadie Cunningham (Brianna Hildebrand, better known as Deadpool's Negasonic Teenage Warhead) and McKayla Hooper (Alexandra Shipp, aka Storm from X-Men: Apocalypse) who call themselves The Tragedy Girls. They boost their online presence by killing people and bragging about it on their "Tragedy Girls" social media accounts. As their follower numbers climb, they decide that they need an iconic killer to take them under his wing to become "horror legends." So, they kidnap an infamous murderer named Lowell (Dark Was the Night's Kevin Durand) to take as their mentor, and plan the biggest caper of their nefarious careers.

Tragedy Girls, photo courtesy Gunpowder & Sky.


Adapted from an original script by Justin Olson (Dweller) by director Tyler MacIntyre and his writing partner Chris Lee Hill (the duo behind Patchwork), Tragedy Girls is a fun throwback to nineties-style high school movies like Clueless and Election drenched in the slasher sensibility of eighties shockers like Friday the 13th and Prom Night. The style also bites a little bit off of the 2011 high school thriller Detention (even The Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson is in both), but Tragedy Girls is a much better movie.

So, you've essentially got these two high school girls who deal with the typical high school girl problems by day, like having crushes on boys and getting attitude from snobby fellow cheerleaders. However, by night, they turn into sociopathic monsters who will do anything for internet popularity. Sure, it's entertaining, but on another level, Tragedy Girls makes a statement about the misguided importance of social media saturation in today's youth culture.

Despite its timely message, Tragedy Girls is firmly rooted in fun. Its retro-kitsch style and pitch-perfect execution is both slick and smart. It's also a lighthearted and refreshing change from the typical modern slasher. It's not exactly an instant classic, but won't disappoint those who give it a shot.
Comedy Factor
Although it's not funny in the traditional cinematic sense, Tragedy Girls has some great comedic moments. Most of the humor is derived from the give-and-take chemistry between Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp, who perfectly capture the best friend/competitive sisterhood vibe of the whole high school experience. The situations presented in the film are both ludicrous and hilarious. For example, Sadie and McKayla constantly get frustrated when their kills repeatedly wind up looking like accidents, so they therefore don't get "credit" for their misdeeds on social media. There's a quick-witted, sharp kind of humor to Tragedy Girls that doesn't bust any guts, but it's sure to inspire plenty of laughs.

Tragedy Girls, photo courtesy Gunpowder & Sky.
Scary Factor
Tragedy Girls leans more towards the comedy side of horror/comedy, so the actual scares in the movie are pretty few and far between. There are some fun gore gags and creative kills, but nothing that's going to keep any horror fan up at night. Kevin Durand's turn as the experienced serial killer Lowell is chilling, but unfortunately, he is under-utilized in the film (he spends most of it imprisoned by the girls in a basement). Director Tyler MacIntyre has done his homework, though, and Tragedy Girls winks and nods to every other horror flick from Carrie to The Purge, so horror fans will still be highly entertained, even if they won't be completely scared.

Tragedy Girls, photo courtesy Gunpowder & Sky.



Genres
Comedy, Horror
Release Date
November 3, 2017
MPAA Rating
R
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