Tragedy Girls Directed by Tyler MacIntyre

Starring Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp
Tragedy Girls Directed by Tyler MacIntyre
8
A delightful, sarcastic, endearingly fucked-up story of friendship and murder, Tragedy Girls is actually quite sweet when you get down to it. At its core, it's a story about two best friends who do everything together — including becoming serial killers to boost their social media presence — but soon find their relationship threatened by their looming adulthood, boys… and the mass murderer tied up in their garage.

Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) are two popular high-school seniors who run a Tumblr and Twitter account called "@TragedyGirls" where they report on everything murder-related. When a string of slayings terrorizes their small town, they lure and capture the killer (Kevin Durand). Intending to adopt him as a sort of twisted mentor, the girls discover they have a new problem: a caught serial killer means no new victims, which means no news for their blog. And what better way to report on a killer than by becoming one yourself?

Tragedy Girls escalates quickly to the point where, by the time town Sheriff (Timothy V. Murphy) and his son Jordan (Jack Quaid) — who's crushing hard on Sadie — get involved, there's no turning back, and soon the girls are offing prom committee captains and local town heroes left and right.

It's to the credit of its two leads that, despite their gruesome hobby, Sadie and McKayla feel fun, cool and relatable, trading gossip about exes and high school politics like any normal teenage girl without a captive serial killer in their garage would. Never preachy or ham-fisted, it slyly lampoons coming-of-age comedies, fear-mongering journalism, social media-obsessed millennials (and equally, adults who bemoan social media-obsessed millennials) and the kind of "sexy teen" slashers that leave one girl standing with her man — Sadie and McKayla don't need guys, just each other. And their rapidly growing base of followers of course, an impish wink at the various ways social media breeds malaise, and sometimes even sociopathy.

The script is biting and witty, recalling shades of teenage black comedies like Heathers, or the more irreverently dark Diablo Cody screenplay. It's frequently laugh-out-loud funny, mostly at the audacity and gusto with which Sadie and McKayla pursue their victims — often with a few setbacks along the way (they are fledgling serial killers, after all). The ending is horrifyingly over-the-top, and delightfully. Tragedy Girls has no interest in playing it safe, or drawing the limits at what teenage girls are capable of. (Gunpowder & Sky)