If Buzzfeed ever compile a list of the top 23 movies in which gangs of leggy high-school girls walk in slow motion down locker-lined corridors as slack-jawed dudes look on in awestruck disbelief, there’s a strong new contender for the top spot. ‘May’ director Lucky McKee and Golden Raspberry winner Chris Sivertson (he made the dire ‘I Know Who Killed Me’ with Lindsay Lohan) first released a movie called ‘All Cheerleaders Die’ back in 2001. Shot for peanuts, it was an obvious attempt to exploit the post-’Buffy’ chick-horror boom. Now they’ve taken another crack at it, with a few more dollars in the bank, and the results are patchily entertaining, if wildly derivative.
Caitlin Stasey plays Maddy, a high-school video nerd with a yen for vengeance, whose hastily-cooked scheme involves befriending airhead cheerleader Tracy (Brooke Butler) and her clique so she can bring them down from the inside. So far, so good – but then things get a little out of hand, and both girls end up dead at the bottom of the river. Enter local witch Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) and her magic stones…
McKee and Sivertson’s film tries to walk that fine line between exploitation and empowement: with its lesbian central characters, ass-kicking cheerleaders and kill-the-jocks plotline, it’s intended as some kind of feminist statement. It isn’t, of course, because it’s also crammed with slo-mo semi-nudity and brainless bimbettes on the rampage. There’s plenty to enjoy – a handful of smart one-liners, a few nifty shocks and one truly unsettling confrontation in a cemetery – but nothing to give Joss Whedon a run for his money.