All Cheerleaders Die

Editor’s Note: The following statement from Jim was written at the top of the email I received.

I had to review it. I was compelled by beings made of pure light, to warn the Earth, so that others might not.

At the time, I feared this movie may have broken him. I leave it for you to decide. ~ Jenn

IMDB link:

Starring: Caitlin Stasey, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Brooke Butler, Tom Williamson, quite a few others

Review: High-Stakes Competition-Level Hotter-Than-Anyone-In-High-School-Ever-Was Cheerleading team loses its captain to an unfortunate (and fairly grisly, considering how little time it spends on screen) catch failure. Dead girl’s old middle-school friend tries out for the team the next year, with the secret intent of bringing both the cheerleaders and the captain of the school’s football team, down. Hard. From there, the movie goes places that are seriously not on the menu for such a standard opening reveal.

Here’s the thing about All Cheerleaders Die. All of the characters are horrible people. The captain of the football team? Dark secret past, controlling and domineering personality, with a reveal toward the end that just adds to his level of terribleness. The protagonist (Maddy) is less a heroine and more a revenge-driven minor villain in her own right. Maddy’s ex-girlfriend Leena is controlling, obsessive, and dangerously prone to all-or-nothing views on her relationships. The current captain of the Cheer team, Tracy, is the quintessential Smiling Face Hides Sharp Teeth “mean girl” that we all hated in High School who can kill a man relentlessly and show up two minutes later with perfect hair and a bounce in her step, complaining about the quality of items in the lunch line. The only character that is really sympathetic through any of the film is the character of Vik (who, even though he’s supposed to be the team Quarterback, is played somewhat sheepishly by Jordan Wilson) and the Very Quickly Dead character of Felisha Cooper’s Alexis (the central figure of the film, around whom the entire plot in one way or another revolves).

As an examination of what horrible people do when their world-view is challenged (pay particular attention to the sisters Martha and Hanna and what goes on after everyone wakes up in Maddy’s bedroom), All Cheerleaders Die really actually succeeds quite well. Not one of the characters are sympathetic, and I really honestly feel bad for Tom Williamson (playing Terry, the Team Captain), because the role he was given is actually particularly stereotypical, especially for a young black actor. As a comedy (as it is billed on Netflix) it falls horribly short. As a by-the-numbers horror film, it actually does an okay job – if you consider that by-the-numbers relies heavily on camp, badly plotted scenarios, and lots of craft effect gore. On that, All Cheerleaders Die delivers in spades. A lot of the humor is forced. The suspension of disbelief about the sheer level of physical attractiveness these mid-20’s actors are able to squeeze into their leather cheer skirts and their knee high boots is very high. More than a few of the dramatic scenes are going to be difficult to watch for a good many female viewers. There’s a lot of blood, both CGI and craft, and a good deal of What The Hell Let’s Put A Half Naked Woman In This Scene (Tracy’s cross-the-street-in-her-skivvies scene, for instance). Now, neither of those things are necessarily bad, and blood and boobs are staples in the genre. They just felt forced. Too forced, you know? Like, they were clearly being played for laughs, but at some point it stopped being funny and just started being awkward and uncomfortable and rather undesirable.

Maybe that was the point?

Also, I have to say: “That sweet freezer”? Seriously? You went there?

Where I found it: Netflix. Where sanity goes to die.

How much I paid for it: Somewhere in the middle of watching this movie, I suffered a Lost Time event the likes of which Agent Mulder has never seen. After reviewing all my available sources, including a wind-up watch that cannot be affected by the electromagnetic interference generated by the 4th dimensional travelers I am now certain abducted me (I’ll be getting their tracking device removed later this week), I can assure you, this film is only 89 minutes long.

Points of interest: This is actually a remake of a movie of the same name, from 2001. The end credits point this out quite clearly, and if the remake was this level of camp and Deliberately Terrible, I have to wonder what the original was like. I may never watch it. But I have to wonder.

Also, this is apparently Part One Of A Series. Fear, people. Fear.

The Money Shot: It’s hard to choose, but I’d have to go with the quintessential by-the-numbers “Last Minute Comeback Rescue” shot wherein a certain someone gets clubbed upside the head with a bear trap.

Related Links:
All Cheerleaders Die (2001)

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