Welcome again, fiends and gravediggers. The Raven Maiden herself is back for the second week of October to give you another fun night inwith some hidden gems to catch on your favorite streaming sites! This week, we offer you something on the lighter side with:
ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE!
Available On: Netflix
I am a sucker for a bit of tongue-in-cheek with my tongues and cheeks. So when I started to hear about this movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find it not only bloody, but corny and out to have a good time. Remaking their original 2001 film, directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson’s new version of All Cheerleaders Die premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013, with a theatrical release in June 2014.
The film follows Maddy, (Caitlin Stasey,) a moody teen who was videotaping her childhood friend Alexis, (Felisha Cooper,) when Alexis took a fatal fall during a cheerleading stunt. It is now the next year, and not only has Alexis’ boyfriend Terry (Tom Williamson,) quickly moved on, but it is with Alexis’ fellow cheerleader Tracy (Brooke Butler.) What starts as a plan to seek revenge on the two turns fatal for the squad involved, who are resurrected by Maddy’s ex-girlfriend Leena, (Sianoa Smit-McPhee,) but with a price. They now hunger for human blood, and of course go after the football players who caused their deaths first.
Rounding out the troop of killer cheerleaders are Amanda Grace Cooper and Reanin Johannink as Hanna and Martha, who somehow switch bodies during their trip back from the dead. As everyone discovers what their new “living” situation is, they get used to a few perks of the deal. Armed with pleather cheerleading uniforms that I doubt any decent high school would let their student body wear, the girls take over the school with Leena leading the way, who has to take on the role of Wicca den mother as the girls go about eating and sleeping their way through the boys who killed them.
Now let’s be real for a minute – if you are looking for a hardcore slayerfest, you won’t find it here. Sure, the deaths are spectacular, but in order to really enjoy this movie you must have a healthy ability to suspend disbelief and just be in for the ride. That’s a huge part of the fun. The self-aware flavor of the movie combined with its technicolor effects and solid, up-and-coming cast is what makes the movie so great. That, combined with witty writing makes this a definite campy classic.
Quote of the Night:
Maddy: “What’s Going On?”
Leena: “Someone Got F#cked, Someone Got Killed and I’m Going to P.E.”
You have a little bit of everything in this movie – guts and gore, genuine fear, supernatural monsters, real-life monsters, silly special effects and of course the thing that is obligatory for any horror movie involving cheerleaders – boobies and booties. But where this movie deviates from regular B-Movie grade horror flicks is by poking fun at itself. While watching All Cheerleaders Die, the filmmakers make sure that you know they are in it for the corniness too. And sure, there are hot chicks in skimpy outfits and less strutting across the screen. But every actress does so with comedic flair and playful energy that leaves you laughing and rooting for the murderous squad.
Another thing that I enjoy is the use of bisexuality in this movie. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. We’ve all seen Bisexual and Lesbian characters used frivolously in movies before. Especially horror movies. Especially cheerleader horror movies. But how All Cheerleaders Die deviates is that instead of making it entirely about steamy girl-on-girl scenes, it actually builds character dynamics. Maddy, our protagonist, uses her sexuality to get back at those she feels wronged her childhood friend. Leena refuses to let her ex-girlfriend die, which in turn resurrects the group of girl who are killed. Tracy, feeling unfulfilled, falls to Maddy’s attentions. And rather than freaking out about it, rather than making it loud and dramatic, life goes on. The characters move forward just like any straight tryst would have. Maddy and Leena deal with their history just as ANY NORMAL COUPLE would. What a concept. The only person who makes a big deal of it is our antagonist Terry, who attacks with slurs and physical aggression towards those around him, clearly out of feelings of inadequacy and defensiveness. And when all is said and done, it is Maddy who saves the day, rescuing the damsel in distress and sweeping her off her feet in dramatic fashion as would any stereotypical male hero would.
The fact that creators McKee and Sivertson believe in the project enough to resurrect it (pun intended,) from it’s original 2001 version is enough for me to respect it. They know what they have, and that is a genuinely fun movie with some real characters and enough goofiness to make anyone enjoy it. They believe in their project, and want to see it thrive. And I for one cannot see what they have in store for us in the future.
NAILS IN THE COFFIN: 7/10
I am a sucker for a good B-Movie, and this hits the spot in a very Evil Dead: 2 fashion. It has genuinely scary and unsettling moments, but also gives you a good gag or two throughout. It’s a satisfying good time, and a perfect Friday night movie for a chilly October evening with a couple beers and good friends. Since there is something in it for everyone, it caters to pretty much anyone’s tastes that can hang with a silly indy flick, or at least those who have a healthy sense of humor. I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did, but have since revisited it a time or two and genuinely can’t wait for more from McKee, Sivertson, and the cast.