Credit Gunpowder and Sky
Midway through the horror comedy “Tragedy Girls,” the director Tyler MacIntyre delivers this slasher movie’s first real scare. Two high school social media stars and secretly budding serial killers, Sadie and McKayla, are holding a school assembly for one of their victims, a fellow cheerleader who got fresh about McKayla’s choice of sneakers. As their sanctimonious In Memoriam slide show plays, the dates of the fallen cheer captain’s birth and death flash onscreen, bringing a sickly realization more frightening than any kill: These teenagers were all born in the year 2000.
“Tragedy Girls” updates the slasher genre by identifying personal branding as the horror that trends with the millennial teen. Played with acidic irony by Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp, Sadie and McKayla exhibit all the textbook signs of narcissism, and their bloodthirstiness is really a thirst for the followers that murder is able to drum up for their online horror brand. After rehearsing for their own killing spree by tracking and kidnapping the town’s local madman, Sadie and McKayla exhibit a talent for terror to match their social media savvy.
Clip: ‘Tragedy Girls’
But although “Tragedy Girls” is up-to-date on tweets and technology, its high school dynamics conform to familiar tropes. Sadie and McKayla are catty, prone to jealousy, and quick to swoon before their male victims. “Tragedy Girls” might add group texts to its instruments of death alongside marauding table saws and falling barbells, but the movie’s gender stereotypes keep it chained to the past.