Tragedy Girls is a horror-comedy that explores the deep bond between two teenage girls, that also happen to be budding serial killers. Selected as Toronto After Dark’s closing night gala film, Tragedy Girls stares Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse), and Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) as true crime bloggers that will stop at nothing to become internet icons. A de-constructive meta-horror that updates Scream (1996) for the new millennium, the story blends social media and motive together beautifully. Directed by Tyler MacIntyre (who also holds a writing credit along side Chris Lee Hill and Justin Olson) Tragedy Girls is a fun, and ruthlessly funny horror film that fits as well beside Ginger Snaps (2000) on your shelf as it does next to Heathers (1988).
Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) are social media-obsessed best friends with a morbid fascination of death. They spend their spare time watching horror movies, and creating online content for their growing fan base. Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you too had “Serial Killer Phase”, devouring everything you could find on The Manson Murders, and Jeffery Dahmer. But what if you took that interest in the macabre just a little too far?
When an unambitious local serial killer begins to amass a body count, the girl’s seize the opportunity for a apprenticeship with evil. Hoping that he will mentor them into infamy, Sadie and McKayla kidnap Lowell to pick his brain for advice and inspiration. Sadly, Lowell is about as useful as any low-grade slasher maniac, but his absence provides our Tragedy Girls the perfect cover for their own grisly agenda. Posing as amateur journalists and sympathetic voices for the families affected, Sadie and McKayla get to have their cake and kill it too.
As the body’s begin to pile up and with no solid leads for the police to peruse, all eyes are on this small town mystery and the two girls broadcasting the events worldwide. A few close calls aside, everything seems to be going pretty smooth for our dastardly duo. They’ve knocked off the competition, settled a few personal vendettas and remained out of the Sheriff’s cross-hairs. But when the Sheriff’s son Jordan (Jack Quaid) begins to question they’re involvement in the murders, and when Lowell escapes, the girl’s are forced to rethink their plans before they become victims of their own killing spree.
Tragedy Girls was a big highlight for us at the Fantasia Film Festival earlier this year, and It’s great to see the film finally make its way to the Toronto. The film is a laugh-out-loud riot and I have no doubts that it will stand-out as one of the year’s most inventive and satisfying releases. While I feel the girl’s serial killer tutor, Lowell, was underutilized I was impressed with how dark the story became while still maintaining a strong comedic voice. Fumbling through killings like shy first-dates, Sadie and McKayla are hilarious protagonists that we can’t help but cheer for, despite being textbook sociopaths.
Sadly, the plot is a bit of a mess. At times the film seems as though the two similar scripts were stitched together to address weak points in either. We only return to Lowell when it’s convenient, completely ignoring the student/teacher setup promised in the opening scene. A film that is better enjoyed than analyzed, receptive audiences will no doubt Like, Follow, and Retweet Tragedy Girls.