Fantasia Film Festival Movie Review: TRAGEDY GIRLS

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror/comedy TRAGEDY GIRLS by writer/director Tyler MacIntyre. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:

“Two death-obsessed teenage girls use their online show about real-life tragedies to send their small mid-western town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends.” 

Very early on this feature makes a big splash by proving itself to be cleverer than the average horror film fare.  Our lead characters are smart, self-obsessed, ferocious, and incredibly funny to boot, making them a joy to watch.  The strong voice these two parts lend to this movie make it appear self-referential, yet they never sit there dissecting the various tropes in horror pictures.

Thankfully, the characters are not just well written, they are stunningly brought to life by our two main actresses who manage to make ever facial expression count.  From the slightest eyebrow tic during a conversation to their larger than life expressions whenever they do not get their way, these two make their twisted roles incredibly fun.  While the action might seem broad, our leads bring a dark sort of life to their characters that make it seem as if either of these two girls could be sitting right next to us in a movie theatre or walking by us in the mall.

The supporting players prove to be just as memorable as our leads from the philosophical poser played by Josh Hutcherson to the famed serial killer as brought to life by Kevin Durand, each gets a moment to shine.  I considered this to be a sort of one two punch as each of the roles had something distinctive enough to make the character memorable.  Having such well-drawn characters no matter the size of the part made at least one of the deaths rather surprising as I had assumed that particular person was going to play a bigger role in the plot.

Speaking of the story, this is a whip smart tale from start to finish that skewers social media while still balancing a dark comic sensibility.  Recently, a lot of horror features have tried to weave social media into their storylines, but few do it effectively and I am hard pressed to think of one that handles it with such pizzazz.  I think much of what makes the story click is the comic touch added to the gory proceedings as it allows us to laugh while at the same time it shows off the darker side of trying to receive online recognition.

All in all, this is a fun horror flick that has a darkly comic bite.  The strength of the writing and performances makes this an easy recommendation for those who want something that is just as entertaining as it is cerebral.  This will appeal to those who liked the ideas put forth in Scream 4 (2011), but wanted something with sharper teeth like Heathers (1988).

TRAGEDY GIRLS had it’s Canadian Premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival on July 29th.

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