Review: Tragedy Girls brings Scream to the social media age in a hilariously bloody slasher satire
What if the girls from Mean Girls decided to kill people for Instagram followers? What if that was seriously funny?
Ever since Wes Craven revolutionized the slasher film with the self-aware genre-smasher Scream, everyone has tried to copy its formula. This has resulted in as many slasher parodies as there are slashers. But what if one of them actually brings something new to the table? Director and co-writer Tyler MacIntyre defies expectations and makes you want to follow two teenage murderers on all social media.
The premise is simple enough. You have your typical American town, where not a lot happens except for the usual gossip and an affair between one of the teachers and a fireman. When nothing exciting happens in your town, what can two girls do to gain more Instagram followers than start killing people and then report the crimes themselves? So #TragedyGirls is born!
The film has a great cast. Side characters like the local cool guy played by Josh Hutcherson, or the always great Craig Robinson as the town’s celebrity fireman are fun to watch as they interact with the two innocent girls that are also serial killers.
Tragedy Girls lives or dies with its leads. And director Tyler MacIntyre (Patchwork) sure got the best for the job. Friends that murder together, stay together, and Sadie and McKayla are the best of friends. Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp really sell on the friendship between the two teenagers and feel characters who could easily show up in Mean Girls or Clueless.
These are very different roles than we last we saw them in – Negasonic in Deadpool and Storm in X-Men Apocalypse respectively – and it’s a lot of fun watching them take the killing dead seriously. They go to cheerleading practice and work on the prom committee (with disdain) and then go on a killing spree at night, dismembering a classmate as easily as if it was as common as writing a school essay.
When working with millennials and social media, most films fail to really understand how actual teenagers use computers and phones. Thankfully Tragedy Girls is not like other films. Whenever Sadie and McKayla kill someone their Tumblr and Facebook feeds explode, and we see little hearts and “like” icons floating around their phones as the entire school starts taking notice of their #TragedyGirls efforts.
Ok, so the film is a lot of fun, but is it scary or gory? Yes. Yes, it is. The visual effects and the makeup team take us back to when slasher-films were good and the gore wasn’t overdone. People get beheaded, dismembered, chopped into pieces, and you will seat there and love every second of it!
If there’s one issue with Tragedy Girls is that the film’s subplot is somehow forgotten halfway through the story. We are introduced to this seemingly important character who disappears for most of the film before reappearing for an underwhelming scene that leads nowhere.
Tragedy Girls ends up being a really fun film experience, one that brilliantly combines horror and comedy with the hell that is high school. While this film won’t win any awards, you should definitely grab as many friends as you can. It’s a riot.