Tuesday, February 6, 2018

[Review] Tragedy Girls

Directed by Tyler MacIntyre, the buzzing new VOD flick Tragedy Girls is a wildly subversive riff on the slasher genre as well as high school horror tropes. It shocks, it grinds, and it might make you smirk with guilty glee.

Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp play Sadie and McKayla, a pair of savvy teens who also happen to have an obsession with true crime that goes way beyond watching "Dateline" episodes. After capturing the town's masked murderer and holding him hostage, the girls -- in a sadistic twist -- start carrying out the murders themselves...wait for it...in order to increase their followers on Twitter and Instagram!

This thing wastes no time getting crazy, as it cranks up with a genuinely great opening scene that immediately sets an audaciously macabre and playfully irreverent tone. What transpires is a demented and deranged psycho-romp that's doused in a splatter of pitch-black humor. The film's graphic visual spike is a spectacle to behold as the kills increase in outlandishness -- think Final Destination meets Mortal Combat fatalities (a scene in the school's woodshop is particularly bonkers...and really bloody). And it's difficult not to think of certain parts here as a modern ode to Carrie, and I'm not talking about the recent remake.

The terrifically diabolical performances from the two leads Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool, and Fox's surprisingly awesome series "The Exorcist") and Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse) make the madness work as they nail a fitting balance between prissy and sociopathic. The plot also adds another interesting layer as a hostile rift forms between the two besties. As far as the supporting cast, the usually banal Josh Hutcherson attends with his most amusing role to date, and even Craig Robinson shows up for a couple of comical scenes.

In the end, Tragedy Girls is a winking commentary on the public's fascination with serial killers, a meta take on our cravings for horror cinema, as well as a hyperbolic and spastic satire on the desperation and lengths one will go for popularity on social media. Hashtag death.

( 8/10 )

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