Today is my favorite holiday, a time when the inner character comes out in a form of fandom costumes or ridiculous representations of my favorite things. It’s also the time of year when film ventures into the dark side, presenting the world with horror thrills and chills. I like these kind of films, but it’s not normally my go to genre. However, if all Halloween movies were like Tragedy Girls, I could become a huge horror-head.
Taking the lead from recent horror comedies like Cabin in the Woods and Tucker and Dale vs Evil, Tyler MacIntyre’s Tragedy Girls continues to blend two diverse genres to create a film all of its own. Two best friends are obsessed with the local serial killer wreaking havoc on their small mid-western town. It’s not long before Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) take things into their own hands in order to build their ‘Tragedy Girls’ website’s popularity. The balance between these teens dark and light side play throughout the whole film, and thrive off of each other.
When I say it’s not long, I mean like five minutes. The movie gets up and goes, no waiting around for over explained backstory. The use of dialogue in particular scenes is enough to shape these girls into the murdering popular girls that the movie revolves around. The audience feels comfortable with the type of people these girls are, there is nothing that is missing from the story. The psychology behind serial killers is fascinating, don’t get me wrong, and the trajectory from the cheerleader to the murder queen, while interesting is not important to the story you are viewing. These girls are enough for you to watch what happens next instead of focusing on how they got there.
Lets take a moment to give a shout-out to these ladies. Shipp and Hildebrand are amazing in this film. They have each had their moment to shine in past films, like Shipp in X-Men: Apocalypse and Hildebrand in Deadpool, but these characters are something unique. Their chemistry together is not only believable, but ones you can’t take your eyes off of. They are individuals, yet are the perfect pair who can’t live without each other. That’s not something that’s easily recreated, and from a girl who has a bestie for over 20 years, this relationship is exactly how you want to be with your best friend.
To make things even better, the dark shadow looms over the film, yet is surrounded by heart emojis, is the original killer named Lowell (Kevin Durand). He adds just the perfect amount of flash to these girls’ perfectly disturbed relationship. I am a huge fan of Durand, and am really excited with his involvement in this film. He is the perfect person who can play a pivotal part of the film, adding unmatched energy, yet also is the perfect second to the true stars of the show. I don’t know how he’s been able to master this particular talent, but I will continue to watch anything he is in because of it.
The ease of the atmosphere created between McKayla and Sadie mimic the trajectory of the story. From the moment it starts, everything that happens is what is expected to happen. I mean, if you are expecting teens to venture into the realm of carnage. The whole time the audience is captivated and glued to the story. It doesn’t feel exploitative, and even if it does veer into that area, it’s done in a way that makes sense and works with the film. It’s hard to believe that a movie has just enough gore, but in a horror movie that’s important.
Tragedy Girls is so much more than a horror movie, though. It’s a fun film that keeps you guessing and entertained through the whole bloody mess. However, somewhere in the midst of it all, the film takes a dramatic turn towards the reality of real world complications. The fun slips away and you are in the middle of a truly perfect Halloween/slasher movie. The respect that is paid to not only the story but the character, as well, is why this film succeeds. The film doesn’t feel like it has to stay in one genre to do its job as a good film. They have found that balance between the rules of multiple genres to create one of its own. While it may remind you of other films, this is definitely in a class of its own.
No matter what type of film you were expecting, it will be an enjoyable ride for all audiences. I had so much fun watching this film, I was sad to have it end. As in all good thrillers, there is a beautiful twist at the end, but even that plays with your expectations of what a twist in a slasher flick is supposed to be. There are not enough adjectives to explain how brilliantly funny and terrifying this film is. To be completely cliche, it’s a must see film. If you were wondering, I already have my Halloween costume for next year, I just need to choose my ride or die bestie.
Tragedy Girls is currently showing in limited theaters. Please check your local listings and go see this film.
Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by Gunpowder & Sky