Tuesday, 29 July 2014

All Cheerleaders Die (2013)

Co-written and co-directed by Lucky McKee and Chris Siverston, All Cheerleaders Die is a chance for the guys to remake/rework a concept that they first delivered to audiences back in 2001. I haven't seen the original version so I can't comment on how closely this follows it, but I'm happy that this movie is here. It's a lot of fun, reminiscent of Jennifer's Body, with a little bit of The Craft and Heroes added to the mix.

The story starts with a young woman, Maddy (Caitlin Stasey), infiltrating the world of the cheerleaders as she puts together what seems to be some kind of documentary/promo piece about their lives. When tragedy strikes, and I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that a cheerleader dies, then Maddie ends up taking the plunge herself and applying to join the squad. It's all part of her plan to cause no small amount of upset, but her plan is scuppered when more deaths occur. Thankfully, a young witch (Leena, played by Sianoa Smit-Mcphee) is able to help out. But witchcraft isn't an exact science.

It may not have a script full of sassy one-liners, and it may not be as fast-moving as some may like, but I really had fun with this film. The humour stems from the fact that a bunch of cheerleaders end up being quite dangerous and powerful, completely by accident. They would, if it wasn't for Maddy, just get right back to their usual high school routine, which involved bitching about others, trying to get through classes with minimal effort, and fending off potential rapists.

McKee and Siverston don't exactly twist genre conventions, but they mix things up in a way that makes everything a bit different from the norm, while also providing enough standard goodies for fans (there are some decent moments of bloodshed and, hey, the main characters are attractive cheerleaders - call me shallow, but I was happy throughout most of the movie).

Unfortunately, the main characters aren't all that strong. Stasey and Smit-McPhee both do well, setting themselves apart from the main crowd in their very first scenes, but Amanda Grace Cooper, Brooke Butler, Leigh Parker and Reanin Johannink all blur into one cheerleading mass. They're supposed to be that way, understandably, and their characters are allowed to develop slightly in the second half of the movie, but it still doesn't help viewers to fully engage with the unfolding events. Tom Williamson, playing Terry Stankus, stands out from the boys who are onscreen, mainly because he's the worst of the jocks, in ways that become clearer with each scene that he's in.

Perhaps suffering from a bit of an identity crisis (ironically enough, considering the fate of two main characters - see the film and you'll know what I mean), I still ended up enjoying All Cheerleaders Die, probably because I had no idea what to expect on the way in. I know some other people who have enjoyed it as much as I did, but I've also seen a lot of people thoroughly dislike it. I still recommend it anyway. If you hate it then it's only 90 minutes long. If you love it, well, you can thank me later.



In fact, if you end up liking the movie then you can thank me by . . . . . . . . . . buying my book. Hell yeah!

The UK version can be bought here - http://www.amazon.co.uk/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395945647&sr=1-3&keywords=movie+guide

And American folks can buy it here - http://www.amazon.com/TJs-Ramshackle-Movie-Guide-Reviews-ebook/dp/B00J9PLT6Q/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395945752&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=TJs+ramshackle+mov

As much as I love the rest of the world, I can't keep up with all of the different links in different territories, but trust me when I say that it should be there on your local Amazon.

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