After suffering through countless overtly serious genre films at this year’s SXSW, I was saved by Tyler MacIntyre’s fiercely entertaining Tragedy Girls.
Boasted as a “new spin on the slasher genre,” the film delivers on this promise, approaching the killing from a different perspective. Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand, pictured above, star as two death-obsessed teenage girls who use their online show (“Tragedy Girls”, of course) about real-life tragedies to send their small mid-western town into a frenzy.
Tragedy Girls opens with an instant twist; the two girls bait a local slasher (Kevin Durand) into the woods where they knock him out and capture him. With hopes of learning the tricks of the trade, they embark on their own killing spree with one goal in mind: popularity on social media. Yes, tackling teens’ obsession with social media is pretty obvious social commentary, but it does open the door to a lot of the film’s genuinely funny moments.
Speaking of humor, the obvious (and overused) comparison would be to Wes Craven’s Scream, or maybe Joseph Kahn’s criminally underrated Detention. MacIntyre, who co-wrote the script with Justin Olson and Chris Lee Hill, understand what audiences want – and that’s to have a good time. So many independent genre films get lost in their own art, focusing way too hard on visuals and not enough on an engaging experience. Tragedy Girls does it all, is lightning fun, and is over in a blink of an eye.
So, it’s fun. Big deal. We’re talking about a slasher film. How gory is it? While you won’t see pools of blood by any means, there are some vicious death sequences that are not only over-the-top awesome but also hilarious. The girls are trying to kill people, but suck at it, and the result are victims accidentally murdering themselves. The comedy rolls over as the police refuse to accept there’s a mass murderer on the loose, instead deeming the deaths an “accident”. The deaths are brutal, Final Destination brutal, directed and edited with precision for maximum impact that surely will have audiences roaring in delight.
While I doubt you’ll see Tragedy Girls opening in theaters across the country, it’s a film worthy of seeking out in what will probably be some sort of limited release. You’ll most definitely fall in love with these girls and will be boasting admiration for them across all social media platforms.
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