tragedy girls (2018). mckayla and sadie are high school seniors who happen to be obsessed with boosting their online presence by any means necessary, which, in the case of this beautifully rendered movie, involves running a site called tragedy girls, which chronicles local serial killer activity, takes the local police to task, and speculates on who will be next. do the girls simply report on what they are uncovering, or are they somehow driving the news?
i don't need to connect the obvious dots here: what part does the media play in reporting/encouraging violence; what are the impacts of violent media on its' consumers; and is this movie a lot like heathers? while there are some surface connections between these two brilliant, cynical films, tragedy girls is, in my estimation, much darker. these gals, unlike veronica, are pretty much without remorse.
while i can see how some might call this a horror comedy--and it is very funny--i don't think it is a comedy at all. the attitude of our (anti)heroes suggests a level of dissonance with basic human compassion that is kind of unsettling, if not outright terrifying. in fact, the beauty of this movie is that, creative slasher deaths not withstanding, it is about the relationship between two young women as they navigate the mine field that we call high school. sure, some boys get in there to add some confusion, but these gals are ultimately much, much smarter...and much more willing to go to the edge. to this end, alexandra shipp is a utterly brilliant as mckayla, strong, resourceful, funny, and an utter sociopath. brianna hildebrand as sadie is a little icier than shipp, and she struggles the most with who--and what--she is. but when push comes to shove, she knows where her heart belongs. i found the end very, very satisfying, especially as a few things cropped up that made me think they might take the easy route. they didn't.
finally, tragedy girls excels in its' inclusion of incidental diversity, which, to me, means that there is a general feeling of inclusiveness throughout. different races and ethnicities are well represented, it passes the bechdel test many times over, and the backgrounds are filled with interesting and intentional design. it's also awesome that the leads in this movie were free from being overly sexualized. in fact, i think this is true of all the women in this movie. the music is absolutely outstanding, and adds such a lovely flavor to this movie, a movie that sells the disruptiveness of tragedy, while ultimately--and gleefully--celebrating its' upheaval.