The Popcorn Frights Film Festival got underway in the MIA (that’s Miami, Florida for those not in the know) and it was a frightfully good time. Three movies got the party started: Tragedy Girls, Jackals, and Terrifier. However, me old bones only watched Tragedy Girls because if I’m up too late, I turn into a bigger donut roll than I normally am. Enough about me! This article is about Tragedy Girls, which in a word is fantastic!
The opening minutes of Tragedy Girls perfectly establishes the entire tone of the film.
As the story goes, BFFs McKayla Hooper (Alexandra Shipp aka Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse) and Sadie Cunningham (Brianna Hildebrand aka Negasonic in Deadpool) are on a mission to become social media celebrities. Unfortunately, their virtual product involves murdering people to make it look like a serial killer. After each killing, McKayla and Sadie post on their website called Tragedy Girls where they remind the public that the cops are covering up the truth about a mass murderer in town. The cover up keeps the “likes” low for the Tragedy Girls so they slowly escalate their agenda. And that plan gets gruesome and hilarious with each new victim.
The opening minutes of Tragedy Girls perfectly establishes the entire tone of the film. In just a few minutes, viewers are set up with an old-school slasher scenario. And by old school, it’s a subtle homage to 50s “killer on the loose” old school. Sadie and a boy are making out in a car on a lonely road when a noise outside draws the kid out. A serial murder strikes, but this isn’t the start of chase scene involving Sadie and the killer. Instead, Sadie and McKayla have set a trap. Tragedy Girls flips all expectations for the genre immediately. The girls are not heroes. They’re looking for a mentor to begin their serial killing spree.
Tragedy Girls is predictably unpredictable. Or maybe it’s unpredictably predictable.
From the opening on, Tragedy Girls is filled with rapid fire dialogue that weaves jokes in and out. The writing is sharp, and Hildebrand and Shipp own every bit of it. Theirs is a mix of sadistic and sarcastic that’s reminiscent of Heathers. Shipp and Hildebrand are every bit McKayla and Sadie, filling their characters with engaging silent moments. Shipp gets the best dramatic moment near the end that solidifies the madness of both leads. Appearances from Josh Hutcherson, Keith Hudson, Rosalind Chao, and Craig Robinson fill out a stellar cast.
Director Taylor MacIntyre balances out the humor and horror with precision from scene to scene. While McKayla and Sadie are doing gruesome things to people, the focus is on the dialogue and humor. And when you least expect it, there’s a real punch of gore. Tragedy Girls is such a brilliant mix of old and new. A brief sequence early on shows one serial killer pulling another into darkness. The viewers are drawn into the unknown with them and into the crazy fun of the film.
Tragedy Girls is predictably unpredictable. Or maybe it’s unpredictably predictable. The film is a fun ride that at times feels like it’s subtly paying homage to horror generation by generation. And through each generation, it sets up the trope then has fun with it. Along the way, it’s funny, gory, and a great addition to a year that’s been great for the genre.
TRAGEDY GIRLS TRAILER