'Tragedy Girls' creates more laughs than screams

By JOE FRIAR
Oct. 18, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.
Updated Oct. 18, 2017 at 10:31 p.m.

A scene from "Tragedy Girls."

A scene from "Tragedy Girls."    Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Superheroes-turned-sociopaths Alexandra Shipp (Storm in "X-Men: Apocalypse") and Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead in "Deadpool") are the best part of Tyler MacIntyre's new slasher-comedy. The two actors are very funny as high school cheerleaders, who become serial killers to boost followers on social media. The comedy features over-the-top gore and great cameos by Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games") and comedian Craig Robinson while taking cues from horror classics "Scream" and "Halloween" plus female driven comedies "Clueless" and "Ghost World."

Sadie Cunningham (Hildebrand) and McKayla Hooper (Shipp) are best friends who resemble the average teenager. The BFFs are cheerleaders, they run the prom committee and actively post on social media. The two decide they need to boost their followers after McKayla's mom provides the only retweet of the day on their Twitter account. The amateur sleuths devise a plan to track down a local serial killer (Kevin Durand), hold him hostage and commit murders on his behalf to secure social media fandom as "The Tragedy Girls." Of course, it could happen.

Before you know it, the girls resemble part of the Sawyer family from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as they dismember bodies while accusing Sheriff Welch (Timothy V. Murphy) of a coverup when he neglects to report the grisly murders to the local townsfolk. Panic grips the small town when the body count rises and everyone begins to turn to the Tragedy Girls for the latest updates.

MacIntyre and co-writer Chris Lee Hill turn a preposterous idea for a movie into an entertaining film that works, thanks to Shipp and Hildebrand, who are terrific as the teenage killers. Don't expect any screams just lots of laughs as the clever screenplay keeps the film from falling into ridiculous territory. The audience won't be concerned with the fact that two teenage girls pulling this off would be slim to none because they are having too much fun laughing. The cameos by Hutcherson and Robinson add to the levity of the second film this month to offer a fresh take on the slasher genre after last week's release "Happy Death Day." "Tragedy Girls" is 90 minutes of bloody fun.

Joe Friar reviews films for Hit Radio 104.7 and the Victoria Advocate. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association-Los Angeles and the Houston Film Critics Society. Contact him at jfriar95@gmail.com.


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