Tragedy Girls Gives Storm and Negasonic an Excellent Murder-venture (Review)
If the opening scene of Tragedy Girls had merely been a set-up for a slasher movie where we get Kevin Durand as the Jason-like masked machete killer, that alone would merit a thumbs-up. But while it is technically that, it's also considerably more. Durand, whose character's initials are "LOL," is but a pawn in the larger game of Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp), perhaps familiar to you from the X-Men movie universe as '80s Storm and Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Here, they're high-school seniors with considerably less honorable aims: mainly, to commit murders and then boost the profile of their blog on which they discuss said murders and speculate, OJ-like, about the "real" killer. It's as if Scream had been told from the point of view of the Ghostface murderers, but instead of them being Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard, it's two Heathers.
In other words, it's a bit more like Scream: The Series, only instead of a bunch of red herrings as to who the killers are, we get killers frustrated that nobody picks up on their clues. Though they make every attempt to ensure that the deaths they leave in their wake are clearly murders, the local police insist on framing every death as an accident so as not to cause panic. This all means Sadie and McKayla have to up their game...and possibly force LOL to teach them how it's done Friday the 13th style.
The tricky aspect to this kind of storytelling is that you are dealing with despicable protagonists who in no way deserve to get away with any of this. Their desire to be social-media famous is identifiable to a point, but you wouldn't want to hang out or even go out with these girls in real life. Director Tyler McIntyre doesn't quite solve this issue, but he brings us a long way in with the ladies' dark humor (and dumb, sometimes deserving victims) before the plot starts dragging a bit and becomes in need of a further twist...which it gets.
Though Tragedy Girls is loaded with other movie references from the obvious (Halloween) to the left-field (Mystic River) it's fans of wrestling who may recognize the storyline the most. It's the classic trope of a heel tag team, who grow in popularity until one of them has to turn good, and build to a fight that will either end in the start of a successful singles career, or a powerhouse reunion. WWE is doing it again with the Shield right now -- get it right, and you have the Hardyz 2.0. Done wrong, you get Roman Reigns in the WrestleMania main event...three times. But whichever way you go, you always keep sequels in mind.
In the end, Tragedy Girls is more Scream than Heathers, and might not attain great cult heights, but it's a fun Friday night flick that, for now, won't steer you too wrong.
Images: Gunpowder & Sky