Directed By: Tyler MacIntyre
Written By: Chris Lee Hill & Tyler MacIntyre
Based on an Original Screenplay By: Justin Olson
Cinematography By: Pawel Pogorzelski
Editor: Martin Pensa
Cast: Alexandra Shipp, Brianna Hildebrand, Craig Robinson, Kevin Durand, Elise Neal, Jack Quaid, Nicky Whelan, Rosalind Chao
A twist on the slasher genre, following two death-obsessed teenage girls who 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.
One of the problems I have with films like these is that while they obviously want to medal themselves in films like HEATHERS that is a fine model but when a film Goes out of it’s way more to replicate the films rather then be inspired but have it’s own identity. Films such as JAWBREAKER are guilty of this.
This film true but it seems I can’t help but be doused in that style rather than actually be based on something stronger in it’s heart. The casting of the leads seems interesting as both were in noteworthy X-Men film titles the year before. Here they are their own dynamic duo.
While it certainly has a much more gorier and macabre sense of humor. So it certainly fulfills the dark comedy criteria.
The film obviously likes to take on the subject of how the internet and social media has shaped the culture. As it seems the motivation seems to be based more on that then anything while also examining the same old prospect that drives teenagers and people in general popularity. As the film continues it seems that they are choosing their victims by whoever threatens to be more popular or steal their thunder.
What helps win the movie over is the lead performances by the two leads that are both energetic and fun. That even though they are doing deplorable acts you find yourself liking them.
At times it seems like the film is working too hard to add jokes and humor when not needed as at times it feels out of character. A film that seems invested in them. Essentially making every character except for the leads feel boring of fake lacking dimension or any true passion like phonies thigh one kill in particular feels very cruel for no reason. Making them true outsiders and individuals. As most seek to need something to be into or passionate about. This is aimed at something more violent that seems more important than Anthony else that looms large over everything else.
While it does offer some sharp commentary or horror film cliches. As well as the crime, media coverage and social media. As the characters are Coming of age know it all in over their heads so it seems. That you wonder even though they are sociopaths is it killing to get famous or killing just because they have a desire to and fame doesn’t hurt.
For such a modern film it feels more in style like a 1980’s movie.
Though strange as the serial killer is in Kevin Durand performance he comes off more as a comedic doofus then killer mostly as he talks tough but is rarely effectual.
Alexandra Shipp gives the more interesting performance, As she is the same the whole way through. Where the film keeps trying to give other characters more an emotional ark. She never devises from her path as the more sadistic of the two. So while she might seem cruel, she is also the character who would most likely be the more wacky.
It just seems that for a film that is so interested in trying to take cliches and spin them around. It just seems lazy that instead of becoming protégés or kidnapping the serial killer to learn his skills. Their plan just seems to repeat his crimes to make themselves famous but there seems to be no learning Involved or slowly taking it there they already seem to be seasoned killers themselves already. Maybe that fits easily more into the narrative rather than having to build more onto the story.
Though I will say it feels more like a film aimed at teenagers rather than an older audience who might dissect it. Even though the third act feels forced when they begin to come apart even if needed for the rest of the film it feels elementary especially when it has been so smart or seemingly advanced, Yet feels surprisingly light and self aware. Though the ending feels unorthodox like it is not only trying to be satire but also that the film and audience will like the characters so much. We would want to see them continue and stay together.
The films chooses to showcase the power of friendship and a kind of love story more emotional than physical as two people who get one another, With each close up you notice and see the baby faces of the characters.
The film is clearly aimed at a cult audience. staying over the top acknowledging doesn’t excuse being lazy as their are the requisite horror film references In Dialogue and in actions.
The film is dark hearted going for the unexpected. With no real consequences. Though the film is fun while it lasts.
This film goes great with movies such as FINAL GIRLS, INGRID GOES WEST