Directed by Tyler MacIntyre
Following two death-obsessed teenage girls who use their online show about real-life tragedies to send their small Midwestern town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends.
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★★★★ review by deah on Letterboxd
the real tragedy is these girls never got to kiss each other
★★★★½ review by Don Anelli on Letterboxd
Living in a small-town, teenage best friends who run an online site obsessed with real-life death want to create their own story to capitalize on the buzz their site creates in the aftermath of a string of deaths and try their own hand at the style where no one is safe when they're done.
This was quite the fun and enjoyable effort. One of the film's finest points is the fact that there's a rather large connection to the way it absorbs modern society in the current day and age. This one starts off immediately with this type of brazenly modern social media-obsessed culture where the girls set their trap and knock out the supposed killer before taunting him with their lingo and fan-girl mindset that gives them the appearance of being quite in-depth with modern society. That this one features them so continuously on their blog, focusing on hashtags and getting their posts out onto the world that it delves so deeply into the modern world that it resonates incredibly well due to that factor. The screens showcasing the different messages or tweets for their work that it furthers this even more, and it manages to give this a really strong stylistic look that gives this one a nice feel. Even with all this work to tie it into the modern culture, there's still the horror elements at present here which are pretty accomplished and manage quite a lot to like. The initial stalking in the woods at the bridge is a rather straightforward affair, but the remaining scenes are played more for black comedy with the way these teenage girls can overcome and overpower their much larger, more powerful victims gives this a comic edge. From the way in which they start the massacre at the school garage to the ambush at the gym where they take down their biggest obstacle yet, these more horrific scenes intended to be funny give this a strong and overall like to like feel when coupled with the rather enjoyable technological connections. The finale at the prom manages to generate a lot of fun by really letting loose with a fun time while offering the more action-packed stalking and chasing to come full-circle while also giving the film a really engaging and strong finish which is quite a rousing way to finish. These here manage to give this one a lot to really enjoy while it does have a few minor issues to be had here. While it does generate a lot to like, there's a few flaws here. The most noticeable issue is the fact that there's no accounting for how the police go about their investigation here as there's no reason why they couldn't have figured out who's doing the killings. The fact that they run such a blog at the particular time this occurs gives them such a red flag that it's almost impossible why they're not targeted sooner in the investigation, and it turns even more obvious once they get to the different bodies found around the town. Even more obvious is their cold and callous attitude after everything, and how they always seem to be in the right spot at the right time is way too suspicious to ignore so their antics only seems to be that way in order to keep the film going. Some of the effects-work in the kills look off with the blood-splatter being way too fake, but overall it's not that bad of an issue.
Rated Unrated/R: Extreme Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
★★★★★ review by sarahdobbs on Letterboxd
"At this point we could just Snapchat a used tampon and it would be huge."
Okay, so you basically already know if you're gonna love this movie or not. Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) are the girls of the title. They're high school BFFs who run an online true crime empire (follow them on Twitter! Like their YouTube videos! Reblog their Tumblr posts!). But the internet's full of pouty selfie-takers and even being cute girls who love true crime isn't enough to get them the attention they crave, so they have to get creative - by inventing a serial killer of their own.
There's a pretty strong tradition of films about twisted, obsessive, murderous friendships between teenage girls in horror - think Heavenly Creatures, Ginger Snaps, Jennifer's Body, Don't Deliver Us From Evil - but honestly there'll never be enough for me. I am ALL ABOUT that kind of dynamic, and this is a great example of the form. Sadie and McKayla are really, really not nice girls, and you never really want them to be. But the film does make you root for them to be together, in spite of all their evil deeds.
It's also clear that the filmmakers actually know their way around the internet, which, granted, isn't as rare as it used to be, but it's still nice to see a film actually engage with the way people really use their phones and computers. I liked the onscreen graphics that represented their online kudos, too; all those little hearts floating up out of their phones!
I think I pretty much liked everything about this movie, actually. The gore's gory, and the jokes are funny, and the cast is great - even a slightly miscast but still welcome Josh Hutcherson. And, okay, there's a late reveal that's so obvious it doesn't really count as a reveal, and some of the names are a little obnoxious ("Mr Wan" for the woodworking teacher made me actually LOL though) but everything else was so brilliant I didn't care. I know it's wrong, but I felt a little triumphant at the way this ended - it's, um, well, okay, let's swerve spoilers, but it's defiantly NOT the way every other movie about these kinds of friendships ends, and I loved it for that.
Plus I think I might know what my Halloween costume's gonna be this year now.
★★★★★ review by Wood on Letterboxd
80's nostalgia got you down? A little too much "IT" and "Stranger Things" clouding the public consciousness? Do you yearn for a 90's tongue and cheek slasher? "Scream" but for the narcissistic and psychopathic millennials? Don't worry, Tyler MacIntyre has got you covered with all the guts and gore of the past with a refreshing modern spin.
I'd be surprised if anything at this festival beat this on sheer entertainment value.
★★★½ review by Aaron Hendrix on Letterboxd
What is perhaps most impressive, though, about Tragedy Girls is how well the cast manages to tread the fine line between caricature and pathos. Each of the characters, whether murderer or murder victim, feels just likable enough to endear themselves to the audience, without ever endearing themselves enough that we can’t enjoy their eventual gory demise.
You can read my full review soon at Talk Film Society in a few days.
But, this one is wonderful. Starts out seeming like a simple subversion of horror tropes and then cracks that wide open and has lots of fun with it. This is one of my favorites of the year.
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