Tragedy Girls : Starring relative newcomers Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand (known mostly for their small roles in the X-Men franchise), Tragedy Girls is not quite as tragic as the name might suggest. Tyler MacIntyre’s fourth feature film direction is a gory, vain, and hilarious tale of a pair of deadly BFFs that is a fresh call back to the heyday of slasher flicks.
Best Friends Forever: The film centers on high school besties McKayla (Shipp) and Sadie (Hildebrand), joined together by a shared trauma in their childhood and a fascination with the world of true crime. In order to gain popularity for their online presences, the girls aim to catch a local serial killer, then twistedly decide to carry on his work for the exclusives. Their online popularity sky-rockets and a pair of stars are born. Shipp and Hildebrand take on MacIntyre’s subversive screenplay with absolute abandon; walking the line between typical teen and narcissistic sociopath with ease and finesse, displaying all the highs and lows expected of teenage friendship with a healthy dose of violence and gore.
Supporting Victims: MacIntyre’s supporting cast is full of gems; Josh Hutcherson cameos as McKayla’s ex-boyfriend, Craig Robinson as a spotlight-hogging fireman, Kevin Durand as the town’s original serial killer, and Jack Quaid as Sadie’s hapless love interest are just a handful of the targets in Rosedale. Reminiscent of Scream’s Ghostface, Sadie and McKayla’s savagery is not hindered by their personal relationships with their friends and neighbors. Each person in Rosedale has the potential to become another footnote on their blog and this wanton glee in the deaths of their peers - and how these deaths can be used to further their fame - is both chilling and hilarious.
Points of Reference: It’s no secret that MacIntyre borrowed some elements for this film, and he makes no attempts to hide his inspirations. References to the Scream franchise (as previously mentioned) and Carrie are clearly distinguishable, as is the nod to archetypes from films such as Clueless and Heathers. What’s important to note is how MacIntyre uses the elements at his disposal without completely following the path of a typical blood-and-bone slasher; underneath all the gore and mayhem the film is about the strength of Sadie and McKayla’s friendship as they navigate cheerleading practice, plotting the perfect kill, and outsiders who want to tear their relationship apart. It’s ultimately the story of them in the moment, not what they did or what became of them down the line, and despite how scary and awful these girls are you can’t help but want to see them succeed.