Teen movies have been in a slump since the early aughts, so while it initially came as a surprise when a horror installment of the cheertastic film franchise Bring It On would be cartwheeling our way, it made total sense. Horror is en vogue in this post-covid world, one of the few genres still putting butts in seats at the local multiplex without standing on the teetering shoulders of billion-dollar I.P from yesteryear. Yes, I’m being sassy about superheroes.
So while the Bring It On Franchise has been silently dropping sequels under the radar for the past twenty years, ears everywhere finally perked up when the words HORROR and SLASHER were dropped alongside. I’ll totally admit, like everyone under 30 in the year 2000, I ate up the spirit finger-filled original, starring a bubbly Kirsten Dunst and the too-cool-for-school Eliza Dushku (who’s gone on to become a bit of a Scream Queen in her own right). The franchise lost me after the first installment though, as the horror genre quickly caught my eye and I eagerly traded the world of teen love and loss for masked killers who chopped up any teen who dare bare a titty or light up a marijuana cigarette.
Bring it On: Cheer or Die is the seventh installment in the franchise, and likely going to receive a significant bump in viewership for its twisted premise alone. Lackluster cheer squad The Diablos (aptly named), have some sort of big competition coming up –as is the custom in a Bring it On film — and due to an accident during a lift several years ago, the squad has been banned from performing stunts. The team decide ‘eff the rules, we’re going to learn how to toss girls at the abandoned school nearby where a horror movie is definitely not about to take place”, and second-in-command Abby (Kerri Medders) takes over the covert practice. Because, spoiler alert, their captain was the first to fall from their slasher foe, the Mascot! Armed with pom-poms, crossbows, and a variety of high school-friendly implements, the Mascot has also come for practice… target practice, that is.
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But a tasty premise that doesn’t guarantee one to stick the landing. What follows is less Bring it On, and more Generic Low-Budget Slasher, falling into the pitfalls of the subgenre just being too saturated to “rest on your laurels”. (That’s a quote from the original Bring it On, btw). That isn’t to say that Bring It On: Cheer or Die is bringing nothing to the slasher pyramid. There are some great little pockets of comedy, some fun cheer-fighting (which is totally now a thing), and a few good kills, save for a lackluster swirly in a toilet that should definitely not still have water in it.
“give me a F – give me a U – give me an N!”
Bring it On: Cheer Or Die is fully aware it’s a popcorn movie, but with a premise that’s as silly as can be, one would expect them to push the boundaries on stupid fun. Perhaps to keep in toe with any remaining Bring it On die-hards, the horror itself was pushed a little farther back in the formation.
That said, the current horror landscape is full of moral messages and high roads, so sometimes it’s nice to just sit back and watch a bunch of well-meaning teenagers have their pictures moved from the Best Dressed page of the yearbook to the In Memoriam page. So though Bring it On: Cheer or Die is soft on the slapstick and a little generic in the horror department, it’s one of the few modern flicks made solely in honor of the – give me a F – give me a U – give me an N!
Let us know if you’ll be joining the squad and checking out Bring it On: Cheer or Die over in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord!