5 Questions With ‘All Cheerleaders Die’ Directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson!

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Image Entertainment is releasing the fun, gory All Cheerleaders Die on VOD tomorrow May 8th and in theaters on June 13. Patrick has already chimed in with a review, but I want to back that up a little bit by saying that this movie really is a nice, splattery party film.

When tragedy rocks Blackfoot High, rebellious outsider Mäddy Killian shocks the student body by joining the cheerleading squad. This decision drives a rift between Mäddy and her ex-girlfriend Leena Miller — a loner who claims to practice the dark arts. After a confrontation with the football team, Mäddy and her new cheerleader friends are sent on a supernatural roller coaster ride which leaves a path of destruction none of them may be able to escape.

I recently spoke with directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson about trying something a bit lighter than their usual fare. Check it out below!
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This is a reiteration of a film you guys made some time ago, right?

McKee: Yeah the original film Chris and I made a year out of film school at USC. We just decided no one was going to give us a chance to make movies so we just picked up one of the first TV cameras and came up with this simple concept and got some people together up in the country up in northern California. We made the movie and had a blast. It was a fantastic experience and it kind of got our careers started. And then we got to the place where we were making these dark, heavy movies. Once I finished The Woman and Chris finished The Brawler, we decided to go back to where we started and see what changed in us.

Was the more supernatural stuff in the film in that first version?

Sivertson: We handled it in a very different way.

You mention the tonal difference between this movie and your recent work, was it refreshing to play in a sandbox that was lighter and more fun?

Sivertson: It was definitely fun. When Lucky and I hang out and stuff we’re not usually talking about really heavy stuff and getting depressed. We’re messing around and doing weird stuff. So it was just kind of natural that when we collaborated it was trying to create something as fun as possible. It’s a good time. It’s a party movie.

McKee: It’s fun to dabble in the fantastic. To play around with magic and do it in a way where it doesn’t have to constantly be explained to the audience. It’s just happening. The audience gets where its coming from and can use their imaginations a bit instead of being told everything.

Sivertson: And the teenage drama experience is pretty universal. Even something like American Graffiti still felt relatable to us even though it came out 20 years before we were born or whatever.

The opening of the film is a nice misdirect, it’s not actually found footage which is a relief.

McKee: It’s a little stab at found footage. I don’t have a huge problem with it, it’s just its own sub-genre now. For the movie to start off handheld and shaky in that faux documentary kind of style, it gives the stuff we shot on the Alexa in widescreen more impact.

You guys both do your own projects, what’s your dynamic as a team like?

McKee: It’s just really intuitive. I don’t know if I could do it with anybody else. We’ve been friends for so long and we learned to make movies together. We don’t assign tasks, we just do everything together. There’s a natural give and take. It’s a lot of fun. It was a really cool change of pace, it was an easy process.

Sivertson: It almost goes back to why we made the first film together. There’s a bit of added confidence with a really solid friend. With two of you, you’re learning from both individuals discoveries and failures. As you go along doing that, you’re learning twice as much. This time the question was, “what have we learned since we started?”

  • Charles Zippel

    All of the cheerleaders should be completely naked the whole movie, then I might give with two stars when it comes out.