breaking news

Amid frigid temps, Gov. Deal issues emergency declaration

Satire features Instagrammers who would literally kill for ‘likes’


Taking “Mean Girls” to a Grand Guignol extreme, the gory horror-comedy “Tragedy Girls” is at least the third movie this year — after “Ingrid Goes West” and “Friend Request” — to offer up a cautionary tale about the dangers of social media.

It’s also the sharpest.

Teenagers Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand of “Deadpool”) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp of “X-Men: Apocalypse”) are high school classmates and amateur crime reporters in a small Midwestern town. As the movie opens, the two BFFs have lured and captured a local serial killer (Kevin Durand), holding him hostage so that the psychopath can give them pointers for a homicidal spree of their own, which they plan to blame on him.

It sounds absurd, but these girls would kill — literally — to boost the profile of their shared Instagram account, Tragedy Girls. Their first victim is the town’s young rebel, Toby (Josh Hutcherson). Unfortunately, the sheriff (Timothy V. Murphy) declares Toby the victim of a motorcycle accident, forcing Sadie and McKayla to up their game. The ensuing carnage is staged with ever-increasing invention: blood pools on the school floor, mixed with coffee, in the aftermath of one particularly creative mutilation.

The film’s young slashers are irredeemably smug and obnoxious, and their bloodthirsty craving for social media likes, represented by heart icons that float out of their cellphones after each murder that they document — without implicating themselves — fuels a vicious satire.

After the death of one popular girl, Syl (Savannah Jayde), the school’s principal (Loren Lester) tells the girls, “We all need to find a way to grieve, and remembering Syl’s spirit on the internet is part of that.” In the wake of another murder, McKayla slyly suggests a memorial hashtag, a cruel but spot-on indictment of social media responses to tragedy.

Director Tyler MacIntyre (“Patchwork”) was mentored at film school by exploitation-movie legend Roger Corman (“Death Race”), and this vivid and deftly edited genre picture makes the most out of what looks like a modest budget. It’s not until the final act that “Tragedy Girls” loses steam, coming to rest at a natural — if all-too-obvious — milestone for high school horror: prom night.

For the most part, though, like that swirl of blood and coffee, the movie cranks visceral, caffeinated thrills out of its teenage-meat grinder.

MOVIE REVIEW

“Tragedy Girls”

Grade: B

Starring Alexandra Shipp, Brianna Hildebrand and Josh Hutcherson. Directed by Tyler Macintyre.

Rated R for strong language, sexual situations and graphic violence. Check listings for theaters. 1 hour, 36 minutes.

Bottom line: Social media tale cranks out visceral thrills



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

11 modern home decorating ideas that’ll transform any traditional space
11 modern home decorating ideas that’ll transform any traditional space

Two rules interior designers consistently remind us about decorating are to keep in mind your home’s original architecture and to try to stay true to your home’s roots. This doesn’t mean going full-blown Victorian with your furniture in a historic terrace home but rather to respect the original bones of the space, look for materials...
Where can I find it?
Where can I find it?

Q: I am of Italian descent and love lupini beans in the jar by Cento. They can be a snack or part of an antipasto. I have been unable to find them anywhere locally. Any leads or help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. MJ Malowney, Johns Creek A: I’m with you, MJ. I love marinated lupini beans mixed with olives so much that they...
Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers
Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers

This season has been amazing for those of us who have been growing the Bouquet series of dianthus. The flower power of this dianthus is unmatched in the gardening world. I admit there was a little anxiety with the recent winter storm called Benji. Now Bouquet Purple was a Minnesota Select Perennial Plant of the Year, so we know it has excellent cold-hardiness...
Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers
Bouquet dianthus reigns supreme for show and cut flowers

For apartment dwellers or anyone planning a party this month, paper-white narcissus are hard to beat. A pot or bowl of these pretty plants in bloom makes a great centerpiece or table decoration that you can put together yourself. Paper-white narcissus brings the garden indoors in winter, even if the bulbs never spent a day outside. They are tailor-made...
How to save succulents from rot in winter
How to save succulents from rot in winter

Are your succulents turning black? Are they gushy and soft when you touch them? The small accent color plants from warm dry climates slow down with the shortening of days into winter. They stop growing and therefore need no moisture besides what their bodies already hold. Yet water is continually applied, be it by rain or automatic sprinklers or a...
More Stories