Tragedy Girls, the 2017 horror-comedy directed and co-written by Tyler MacIntyre, is way better than it has any business being. Not only is the movie funny but it’s awash in social commentary.
It’s a smart, funny take on the social media age through the lens of a slasher film. The story centers around Sadie and McKayla, two high school girls who have a social media presence based on talking about true crime. They manage to capture a local serial killer and set about going on a killing spree of their own with the intentions of building an audience and then pinning their crimes on him. Of course, things don’t quite go as planned.
While long on laughs, Tragedy Girls is short on scares. I don’t recall being truly scared at any point during the movie. It’s still very much a horror-comedy though. There are a number of gruesome murders played out on-screen, it’s just that most of them are played for laughs rather than screams.
The cast is incredible. Everyone is clearly on board and understands the tone that this movie is going for. This starts with Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp, who play Sadie and McKayla respectively. Hildebrand I recognized from The Exorcist television series, which she was great in too. I didn’t recall seeing Shipp in anything but she was in the very good Straight Outta Compton. These young women are crucial to this movie and they both come up big by creating characters that you still sympathize with, and even somewhat root for, after you have seen them do terrible things for stupid reasons. I guess, that’s a great way to sum up being a teenager. The rest of the cast is every bit as good, including funny turns from Craig Robinson and Josh Hutcherson.
This is what you get when you take a talented cast and give them a smart script to work with. Tyler MacIntyre and his co-writer Chris Lee Hill packed this screenplay with tons of violence and laughs but they were also able to take an interesting look at social media and what it seems to be doing to us as a society, our young people in particular. The question that is posed here is: How far will people go to get attention now that we all have an outlet? I don’t think that there is a clear answer or solution presented but Tragedy Girls asks and examines the question. It also serves as a bit of a cautionary tale about what could happen if we don’t take these things seriously.
I’m of the opinion that the horror genre is at it’s best when it is built around a societal issue or ill. If you feel the same way, put aside any reservations that you may have and dive into Tragedy Girls with both feet.