Review: ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (2014)

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Anyone with even a slight knowledge of Lucky McKee and Chris Silvertson’s prior filmography might be caught off guard walking into ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE. Sure the two filmmakers had previously co-directed an early in their careers incarnation of the film before, but with films like MAY, THE WOODS and THE WOMAN being directed by McKee and Silvertson’s THE LOST and I KNOW WHO KILLED ME all being much darker and leaning more towards the serious side of things, one might wonder why they chose to partner up again for an updated and fresh horror comedy remake of their own earlier film. One viewing of ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE will definitely answer that question, as the duo not only give their earlier version a fresh and updated re-telling, but also succeed greatly in giving viewers one hell of a good time.

ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE wastes no time in establishing a playful and fun tone, full of sarcastic and conceited cheerleaders, a protagonist with plans to infiltrate and ruin them, and a Wiccan teenager doing her best to keep her sights on the whole gang.  When an unfortunate accident involving a gang of jocks led by alpha-male Terry (Tom Williamson) and a night of partying gone wrong ends with the cheerleaders dead, Wiccan Leena wastes no time in summoning a spell to bring them and her ex-girlfriend Maddy back from the grave, and ready to exact revenge on Terry and his teammates.

While the plot might sound like something of a HEATHERS/MEAN GIRLS/THE CRAFT hybrid, the film stands firmly on its own,  full of hilarious and visually ambitious moments that you don’t really get to see much of these days. A testament to how well McKee and Silvertson work together, they’ve created a horror-comedy with a story that makes you jump right in for the ride, with it never quite losing its edge and continuing to be a full on entertaining film pretty much throughout the whole running time. Turning cheerleaders into reborn seductive vamps, thirsty for blood and vengeance, the film approaches dealing with prissy cheerleaders in a very different way that the standard fare. While most films of the type tend to make you want to reach into your TV and strangle the characters,  ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE plays well into each girl’s quirks, also giving viewers a very likable character in Maddy (Caitlin Stasey), a girl whose first intentions are to ruin the gang, but then ends up genuinely wanting to be a part of something. While the story and the unique visual-style to the film are two very impressive elements, what felt like a definite standout part of the movie, is the love story at the core of the film. Most movies in the horror-comedy genre these days would typically go more towards a “girl meets guy, trouble comes, guy saves girl” plot, the love story, amidst the humor and the violence, is that between Maddy and Leena, giving ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE a very fresh and welcomed approach to a romance.

Full of fun performances, interesting new takes on the genre, and a soundtrack that feels like its an actual character in the film, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE proves that McKee and Silvertson aren’t confined to doom and gloom fare, and can both tell one hell of an entertaining story. Definitely worth a watch.

 

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