Screamfest 2017: Tragedy Girls FILM REVIEW
Director: Tyler MacIntyre
Screenplay: Tyler MacIntyre and Chris Lee Hill Based on an original screenplay by Justin Olson
Starring: Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp, Jack Quaid, Timothy V. Murphy, Craig Robinson, Josh Hutcherson, Kevin Durand
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references
Running time: 1 hour 38 minutes
**** out of *****
Photo: Gunpowder & Sky
BFFs Mykala and Sadie take their blog, TRAGEDY GIRLS, to the next level in the new horror-comedy of the same name.
In the social media age it is very easy to equate one's popularity by the number of likes, re-tweets, shares and follows received on their blogs, website, profile or all the above. Even though you may not know them personally or have never met face-to-face that feeling of connection and exposure can be invigorating and in some cases addictive. Sometimes you connect with an audience and are flooded with feedback while other times the response comes in at a trickle and you wonder what's the point. We've all seen the videos or read the stories about the stunts people pull to find that one thing that pulls in thousands or millions of hits. Sadly, we've also seen the reports about stunts that went terribly wrong in the creators quest for fame. In director Tyler MacIntyre's black horror-comedy TRAGEDY GIRLS, two BFFs decide to take their blog about a tracking a local serial killer to the next level and the results are equally funny, scary and highly entertaining.
Mykala and Sadie, two high school BFFs, run a blog named "Tragedy Girls." Their quiet mid-western town is being terrorized by a serial killer who has managed to elude law enforcement. In an effort to boost their blog's impressions they decide to apprehend the killer themselves by any means necessary. Not to worry, that's not a spoiler as this is literally laid out within the film's opening minutes. However, one may not be prepared for the lengths these girls go to get the job done and the rationale behind their actions may prove a bit disturbing considering the country's current climate. Despite this the film is a bloody, funny, violent and unexpectedly touching look at friendship, loyalty, success and how to stage a proper murder scene.
The stars of the film are Alexandra Shipp as Mykala and Brianna Hildebrande as Sadie, they are the TRAGEDY GIRLS. They are a winning pair and effectively portray the tight bond between them and the emotional disconnect to the atrocities they are committing. They are quite amusing when flipping the switch from being sociopaths out for blood to being sweet and innocent school girls with hearts aflutter over a boy and right back to being sociopaths. They have great chemistry and are both funny and engaging which is likely some of the reasons why one may find themselves rooting for them as opposed to hoping they get caught. The film features a strong supporting cast which includes Kevin Durand, Craig Robinson, Jack Quaid and Timothy V. Murphy. Durand and Murphy stand out as the serial killer and the town Sheriff, respectively. Both actors play their characters against the stereotypes long associated with these sort of roles. Durand is menacing but also intelligent. Murphy's Sheriff is more reactionary as opposed to taking action. They both have their moments but merely mentioning them would be a spoiler.
Like he did with his previous feature, PATCHWORK, director MacIntyre and co-writer Chris Lee Hill present a genre film that acknowledges and embraces its roots and tweaks the tropes fans anticipate thus providing an entertaining viewing experience. Based on a screenplay by Justin Olson the film is chock full of references and inside jokes that genre fans will recognize and appreciate. Beyond the horror its an interesting yet broad examination of the Social Media age and how social platforms can affect one's perception of "popularity" and how the culture as a whole actually encourages deviant behavior for mass entertainment. Other than that it's just a damn fun film full of laughs, gore, violence and the occasional lesson on how to utilize one's horror movie knowledge to properly stage a murder scene. Depending on your social clique that latter part may or may not be a good thing.
***** = Outstanding ****1/2 = Excellent **** = Very Good ***1/2 = Above Average
*** = Good **1/2 = Mediocre ** = Fair *1/2 = Poor * = Bad 1/2* = Abysmal