Perhaps many of you are not aware of the fact that the very first horror film heavily influenced by and revolving around the internet is Pulse (Japan, 2001).
Throughout the next 16 years, the amount of such horror flicks has increased exponentially with mixed result: some movies truly pulled it off, some others failed mainly because they utilised the internet as nothing more than a gimmick.
Luckily for horror lovers, Tragedy Girls doesn’t belong to the latter group: in particular, this film is much more of a slasher ‘parody’/ psycho girls empowerment movie which happens to rely on social media to develop certain parts of its plot.
Written and directed by Tyler MacIntyre, Tragedy Girls begins with best friends Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand, Deadpool and The Exorcist 2) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) capturing local serial killer Lowell (Kevin Durand). As they secretly hold him hostage, the two girls realise the best way to get scoops on future victims would be to murder people themselves, which could also give a boost to their social media channel (appropriately titled “Tragedy Girls”) about deranged murderers.
Going in Tragedy Girls the first thing to bear in mind is that the movie is clearly played for fun: unless this is the first horror flick you watch in your entire life, you won’t be scared by it even in the slightest. Sure, the film features enough gore (limbs-dismemberment type of gore, by the way) and killings, but everything looks extremely watered down through comedic music tracks, frenetic and amusing editing choices, characters’ reactions to their own actions.
From a technical standpoint, it’s not by chance that, to my surprise, MacIntyre’s film resembles a lot Baby Driver in regards to editing, colour scheme and soundtrack, especially during the first half of this funny slasher. Even if a viewer doesn’t like story and characters, Tragedy Girls is still very much watchable thanks to its impactful, bright colours that create a nice looking contrast with the more gruesome scenes.
As I said at the beginning, this film makes clever use of social media by displaying them in certain comedic sequences and keeping it true to the actual way they’re utilised in real life. In this sense, they’re very far from being played as a pure gimmick and, more importantly, they don’t distract from the storyline.
However, what impressed me the most about Tragedy Girls is the subtle, little noticeable depressing subtext to it: perhaps, I’m just making this up in my mind (it wouldn’t surprise me considering how many horror flicks I watch), but I truly believe the movie could be seen as a journey into the twisted mind of two girls who, despite being wealthy and popular, still manage to make others suffer and to be utterly desensitised to the outcome of their despicable actions. The ending, shamelessly spoiled by the trailer (don’t watch it!), seems to prove what I’m saying here.
Despite the chemistry between Sadie and McKayla works thanks to solid performances, I believe one of the flaws of Tragedy Girls consists of the overreliance on dislikeable characters. I get they’re written to be that way, but I found rather annoying having to spend 90 minutes of my time with two protagonists who constantly pissed me off.
Furthermore, throughout the whole runtime I had the icky sensation that this film tried to be something ground-breaking or, at least, worth a faithful cult following. Truth is Tragedy Girls is a fun, entertaining and somewhat original take on the slasher subgenre, which works for what it is.
As such, my last complaint is that if you don’t appreciate the humour, you’re not going to like the film. In fact, as I mentioned above, the strong and constant comedic tone causes the disappearance of any scary bit. Overall, I had a good time watching Tragedy Girls even though I wished it fulfilled better its potential.
Tragedy Girls 6.5/10
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My review will be also available on IMDb – Tragedy Girls