Review: ‘Tragedy Girls,’ when mean girls turn deadly mean ... but still look good on Instagram
Pitched as a “Heathers” for the Instagram age, Tyler MacIntyre’s “Tragedy Girls” lacks the satirical bite and subversive weight of that 1988 cult classic. But the movie’s central idea and bright young cast are so good that some of its shallowness is forgivable.
Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp (both of whom ought to be huge stars within the next five years) play Sadie and McKayla, high school best friends whose obsession with popularity and crime leads them to brand themselves “the Tragedy Girls.” Intending to become local heroes — and boost their social media profiles — they kidnap an actual serial killer, then commit a string of murders that they eventually plan to pin on their prisoner.
It’ll take a high tolerance for pitch-black slapstick comedy to enjoy “Tragedy Girls.” The sharpest scenes find Sadie and McKayla hatching elaborate assassination schemes, which never go quite as they’d planned. MacIntyre and co-screenwriter Chris Lee Hill (working from an idea by Justin Olson) spoof the callous cruelty of the perpetually online, but it’d be a stretch to say that this movie offers much more than mean jokes.
They’re pretty funny jokes though, thanks in large part to the liveliness of Hildebrand and Shipp, and the way MacIntyre mixes the breezy spirit of 1980s teen comedies with unapologetic mayhem. “Tragedy Girls” won’t leave a “Heathers”-level mark, but it does have a strong, sick kick.
Rating: R, for strong bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Playing: In limited release
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