Tragedy Girls (2017)
The camera pans down, and we see a car parked on the Sweetheart Bridge. The windows are fogged up, and the camera goes inside the car to see a young couple making out. Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) stops the boy from kissing her and asks, “Did you hear that?” Sadie wipes the condensation off the window and looks out, smiling to herself. Sadie makes fun of the boy until he reluctantly agrees to check out what the noise was. He leaves the car and slowly scouts the area. Just as the boy begins to relax, he turns back to the car, only to get a machete coming out of nowhere to cut into his head. As Sadie screams and gets out of the car, we see the killer dressed in black looming over the body of the boy. Sadie runs across the road as the killer soon follows. As we follow the two into the woods, Sadie ducks and the killer runs into a wire strung between two trees, which knocks him to the ground. Sadie proclaims “It worked!” as McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) appears out of the shadows, happy with what has happened. They use a stun gun to subdue the killer, but it has little effect on him. McKayla says “I’ve got this” and proceeds to hit the killer with a metal rod to his head.
The girls, pleased with themselves, wake the killer, Lowell (Kevin Durand) up, and he discovers that he is tied up to a chair in a dark shack. Lowell threatens to do all kinds of horrible things to the girls, and they just laugh at him. It seems the girls have been tracking this killer for quite a while as he has killed five people. The girls are more worried about their twitter account called @TragedyGirls, then about the fact that they have a killer in front of them. Sadie cut her hair and went out with a bunch of boys as bait for Lowell. It turns out that they want Lowell to teach them how to be a serial killer. Lowell refuses, but the girls are convinced after a few days of being tied up, that he will change his mind. Just then, they realize that the boy Lowell hit with the machete is still alive. McKayla and Sadie proceed to kill the boy, all the while enjoying the experience. The girls happily take the boy’s body apart using saws and dispose of it in a large trash can, while having a one-sided conversation with Lowell. An alarm goes off on McKayla’s phone; they drug Lowell and move him into a closet. The girls, in an attempt to increase their social presence, are about to do some killing of their own, while setting up Lowell to be the fall guy. Will their plan to rule the web like they rule their school succeed?
This black comedy struggles at times; not always finding its footing, though it does take some chances as the girl’s murder their way to social media dominance. Fans of slasher films will delight in the blood, gore and horror tropes that the film is constantly making fun of. With a town of clueless parents, including the town police chief, the girls thumb their nose at society, at their school and their fellow students and staff that fall for every trap the girls set. The girls are strongly charming and even though they are causing mayhem and destruction, at times you root for the pair to succeed, even when they murder characters you like.
The reason the film works at times is the chemistry between Brianna Hildebrand who plays the leader of the two, Sadie and Alexandra Shipp who plays the always up for murder McKayla. The two actresses play off each other like they have been lifelong friends (just as their characters are). Hildebrand plays Sadie with a gleam in her eye, and Shipp plays McKayla as someone who is always in on the joke and one step ahead of us. The film is aided by a stellar supporting cast, though I would have liked for Josh Hutchinson and Craig Robinson to have stuck around a little longer than they do.
Director Tyler MacIntyre, who co-wrote the script with Chris Lee Hill, let a few scenes play a little too long and the ending is somewhat predictable, but Tragedy Girls is a fun ride through the sociopath world of two teenage cheerleaders who just want to increase their twitter status. My Rating: Full Price