'Tragedy Girls' movie review: A wry, hilarious social media fueled bloodbath
A pair of high school BFFs - in their relentless of pursuit of likes and shares - turn the traditional slasher formula on its head in the outrageously dark and hilarious comedy "Tragedy Girls" (opens in select cities Nov. 3).
In short: A pair of murder-obsessed teenage girls track down a serial killer terrorizing their town - then go to extremes to boost social media traffic for their murder-centric vlog. Stars Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Hutcherson, Kevin Durand, Nicky Whelan and Craig Robinson.
"Tragedy Girls" is predictable for about the first minute or two - it starts out like some caricature of too many other lazy slashers. A masked stalker appears wielding a bladed implement and quickly dispatches a teen while a young screams, fleeing the murder scene. Then the movie takes the first of many refreshing, unpredictable turns in this ridiculous, irreverent and gore-filled slasher.
"Tragedy" commits to two great choices: its macabre humor and its over-the-top violence. Hedging on either front would have compromised this pitch black movie. Its clever script and self-absorbed characters inject a satirical and fun energy into an otherwise tired slasher genre. The gruesome and graphic violence gives "Tragedy" earnest legitimacy within the horror/slasher realm.
Despite its relatively small core cast, "Tragedy" twists and turns in unpredictable directions - often by changing the dynamics and relationships between the characters. Weirdly, at its core, "Tragedy" is a relationship drama centered on two high school senior girls - friends since childhood. The movie is driven by this relationship - it dictates their dedication to their unconventional hobby as well as some surprising alliances between combinations of characters.
The biggest weakness, from a narrative structure standpoing, of "Tragedy" is it lines up who the next victim will be. In almost every homicide, some supporting character is hastily introduced - then he or she is brutally murdered in pretty short order. For a film that is overall unpredictable, handling each victim in such a formulaic manner is a disappointing. Investing even just a little bit more in these disposable characters would have created some dramatic and character stakes for the protagonists -- instead, the victims are just set pieces.
Final verdict: In a genre filled with faceless killers stalking interchangeable victims, "Tragedy Girls" is a welcome slasher entry that gives the killers some dimension, while also taking some cutting swipes at a narcissistic generation obsessed with retweets and hashtags.
"Tragedy Girls" opens in select cities Nov. 3. This slasher comedy has a running time of 98 minutes and is rated R for strong bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references.