Halloweenathon 2023 · Horrorthon365 · Microreview · Movies

Halloweenathon 2023: ‘Tragedy Girls’ Bait-and-Switches Social Commentary Critiques of Social Media

On the twenty-fifth day of Halloween: TRAGEDY GIRLS (2017)

There is so much that’s surprising about Tyler MacIntyre’s Tragedy Girls (2017), and one of the first things is how it features not one, but two serial killers of color — girl serial killers to boot. Starring Brianna Hildebrand (who is Indigenous, Mexican, and white) as Sadie and Alexandra Shipp (Black father, white mum) as McKayla, these multiracial psychopaths fill a gap in representation that nobody needed, but ends up being bizarrely awesome by the end of this shocker. Quintessential antihero territory here, space where folks of color rarely get to tread.

On the surface Tragedy Girls seems like a straightforward critique of social media and the fucked up things people will do for online celebrity. But the twisted here goes so much deeper than that. There’s a distinct Hannibal’s Murder Dads vibe in Sadie and MaKay’s dynamic that is as disturbing as it is delightful. This is stealth queer horror, and I hope a sequel leans into that outright.

Tragedy Girls is also the first horror movie to ever reference Pascal Laugier’s phenomenal Martyrs, a moment that makes it a win all by itself. But the horror homage don’t stop there. With oblique and overt homage to Death Proof, Scream 2, Jennifer’s Body, Halloween, The Purge, Friday the 13th, Prom Night, Carrie and so much more, this is also a horror movie tailor made for horror fans. And there’s even a Titanic reference in the school gym at prom, emblazoned with the words “A Night To Remember.” My decision to include Titanic in my Halloweenathon 2023 was instantly validated. Tragedy Girls gets it.

This begins as a darkly funny film, but doesn’t stay there as the events escalate in horrifying ways. Such smart writing here as high school teen comedy tropes meets slasher horror. Almost like the deranged godmother of Christopher Landon’s Freaky. Such unexpected twists in the narrative and a stunning ending that leaves me worried for the kids today.

✨#RememberAL/5 stars. Highly recommend monitoring your kids’ social media.✨