This latest release from Lucky McKee, the man who brought us the fantastic The Woman and the very original May, and co-director Chris Sivertson (The Lost) strays from their more serious tone and delivers us a new take on the slasher movie.
The story centers around Maddy, a high school student, as she attempts to infiltrate the slimy world of cheerleading and jocks at her school.
After a very memorable opening the story flows along at a great pace, never feeling bogged down by itself but avoiding feeling rushed, and the audience is kept interested with some nice plot developments and twists.
The actors do a solid job all around, and in particular the female leads are way above par for this type of production. Caitlin Stasey did a great job as Maddy, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing her develop her career, hopefully in horror. Okay some of the SFX look a little basic, but the movie didn’t have a huge budget and it really doesn’t detract from the film.
We are treated to some of the silliness that is expected of a film from this sub-genre, and of course not all of the decisions the characters take are logical, but the way the film is made is reminiscent of some of the best teen horror of the 90’s, which for me can only be a good thing.
The biggest plus for me is that the directors have imbued a definite feminist slant into the movie, which is something I absolutely love, and something that can be found in Lucky McKee’s other work. In a similar vein to Chastity Bites (also recommended), the directors have taken a familiar concept and updated and revived it, to provide audiences with a fresh angle, and I think making horror, particularly slashers, more empowering to women can only ever be a good thing.
The obligatory teen-horror tropes are there, the pretty cheerleaders, the jocks, making the whole setup feel comfortingly familiar to those of us who are partial to a good slasher. But McKee uses his talents to nicely subvert the traditional ‘pretty girl gets slashed to bits’ thread and provide us with an entertaining watching experience in the company of some female lead characters who seem distinct, more than mere stereotypes. You grow to like them, particularly Maddy, Caitlin Stasey’s character, which is more than can be said for many female characters in slasher movies. Maddy and Leena in particular appear to be rounded characters, with something about them which will hopefully provide strength of character for the next installments of this.
The gore was minimal but well done, and the adding of supernatural elements to a traditional slasher film really worked. Think The Craft meets Friday the 13th but updated for the 21st century and that is what All Cheerleaders Die feels like.
It won’t revolutionise the horror world, and it certainly isn’t ‘serious’ horror, but if you’re looking for a movie to have a laugh with, and one that is a little different from the norm, then you could do far worse than All Cheerleaders Die. Recommended.