Brianna Geiger says Tragedy Girls combines social media influence and true crime for a uniquely comedic horror experience.
Tragedy Girls (2017) is a horror-comedy co-written and directed by Tyler MacIntyre and Chris Lee Hill and based on an original screenplay by Justin Olsen. MacIntyre conjures up a hilariously deadly piece of satire, hitting comedic high notes amidst the carnage. The film is an unmistakable social commentary on our influencer-obsessed culture and presents a twist on the slasher genre. It follows two teens in a small midwestern town hoping to cement a legacy as horror legends.
High school cheerleaders and vibrant personalities Sadie Cunningham (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla Hooper (Alexandra Shipp) are two murder-obsessed teens determined to achieve social media fame. Sadie and McKayla host the crime blog, “Tragedy Girls'' where they post updates on the latest crime news in their town. Unsatisfied with their likes, views, and comments, they decide to commit murders to help them raise their social status as bloggers. They create a path of misfortune in their journey for social media fame. Gruesome murders already plague their town, and they want in on the action. They formulate a plan to capture the killer for advice and insight into his killings to boost their ratings. Unfortunately, he’s not complying with their demands. The two decide to take his place, committing crimes to report on with the unwitting help of Sadie’s friend Jordan Welch (Jack Quaid).
It’s alarming how casual these girls treat murder, death, and committing horrendous acts for notoriety. They are nonchalant and dissociative, yet their delight and amusement are endearing. All of these distinct emotions shine through in the remarkable performances. The dynamic between Hildebrand and Shipp is exceptional. They embodied their characters perfectly. The way the two play off each other enhances the comedic tone even in the presence of dark subject matter. In one scene, Sadie and McKayla attempt to murder a classmate. We observe as they bicker over having to put in extra work to make their crime scene look like a murder versus an accident. Amid a brutal scene playing out in the background, the duo solely focused on their reputation, unfazed by the gore around them. It was hilarious. I loved seeing their characters traverse through each murder as they attempted to overcome the possibility that each murder might be seen as an accident.
With music by Russ Howard III making the audience feel party to a murder mystery, a stunning visual story thanks to the cinematography by Pawel Pogorzelski and editing by Martin Pensa, Tragedy Girls is a quirky afternoon delight. It’s bloody and quick-witted but not too outside the realm of possibility. There is an element of codependent psychosis between the girls' borderline personalities. The nearest comparison to their disastrous relationship might be Veronica Sawyer and Jason Dean from Heathers (1989). While their relationship isn’t romantic, there are absolutely queer undertones to each character.
Tragedy Girls is a unique and fun experience with playful jabs at influencer culture. Instead of using jumpscares to hold interest, it’s infused with well-timed wit that had me laughing through the film's entirety. It’s well-executed popcorn fun, perfect for true crime and horror fans alike.