Review: All Cheerleaders Die
Girl power is taken to new levels in this comedy/horror film that’s a hot mess yet often entertaining.
All Cheerleaders Die follows Maddy, a social outcast despite her beauty, who takes on the task of infiltrating the cheerleaders at her school in order to make the most popular guy at school’s life a living hell. This is a concept that anyone who has seen Mean Girls or nearly any other teen film would be familiar with. However All Cheerleaders Die infuses supernatural, gory and raunchy effects all at once giving it a slight dose of originality.
The film has a satirical tone, however it’s obvious that its low budget hurts it in getting its message across. In better hands, All Cheerleaders Die could have been a teen horror classic, or maybe even a cult hit. The film has the right ingredients but it never truly strikes the audience. With a few stand out moments that range from emotional to outright insane, the film manages to keep the viewer entertained.
The performances by the dominantly female cast are decent, with the Australian actresses who play Maddy (Caitlin Stasey) and Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) being the standouts. None of the performances are bad, but many of the other roles are not given too much to work with. One of the main problems that the film has is the mostly 2-Dimensional characters. In a satirical film, this is usually forgivable as characters are intentionally archetypal to make a point. There is more depth to our two main characters Maddy and Leena, but that’s about as far as it gets. The film tries to jam in many minor plot lines, but they don’t all get fully realized. The new age/occult aspect of the film feels very random but for the most part it works to accelerate the plot. Lacking originality in its plot, All Cheerleaders Die earns points for its execution, which seriously gets weird at times. The film redefines the notion of the “undead” when it places its five main female characters as the zombie-like figures. For a comedy, the film is not often laugh-out-loud or even chuckle-worthy. There are a couple of moments that stand out, but aside from that it is more of a failed attempt at a horror/comedy/satire. The film is reminiscent of such similar genre pieces as Jennifer’s Body, and had Diablo Cody penned this script, the film may have achieved what it truly attempts.
It’s obvious that the effort and spirit is there for All Cheerleaders Die, but the outcome is less exciting than its promise. At 90 minutes long, it isn’t exactly a waste of time, and does have a couple of moments that make it worthwhile. However instead of being the sharp satire it looks like it may be, it falls into many cliches of the campy horror genre. Audiences may enjoy it for what its worth, but lying inside the dead body of this movie is a much stronger film waiting to be revived.