The horror-comedy genre is obviously the easiest route to success when it comes to finding a broad appeal. While most horror movies are inherently funny anyway — both intentionally, and more often than not, unintentionally — if you have enough jokes to fling around with the gore there’s a good chance of keeping your audience happy. The film’s writers and directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson try to walk that line throughout All Cheerleaders Die, but the first 30 minutes barely keep you interested until the main zombified plot kicks in. Once it does, the pace picks up admirably and the film starts having some fun even while wallowing in some tried and true genre tropes.
Maddy (Caitlin Stasey) is making a film about her childhood friend Alexis (Felisha Cooper) and her school’s cheerleaders, when Alexis dies in a cheer gone wrong. While trying to cope with her grief, she’s disgusted to learn that Alexis’ boyfriend Terry (Tom Williamson) and new head-cheerleader Tracy (Brooke Butler) have quickly moved onto each other. Now, Maddy decides to join the squad to get revenge upon the cheerleaders and their jock boyfriends, going so far as to put her own moves on Tracy. Terry decides he’s not losing his new girlfriend to a woman and chases the whole squad off a cliff where they all die, causing Maddy’s other childhood friend Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) to use her Wiccan ways to bring them all back to life. Maddy and her crew of blood-lusting cheerleaders must get revenge on Terry and all the jocks in the ultimate fight to the, well, death.
Image Entertainment brings All Cheerleaders Die to DVD on July 22 framed in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, sporting a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. On DVD the film looks better than it sounds. The dialogue always gets consumed by the blaring soundtrack choices, but at least you can always see whatever carnage is happening onscreen. The slipcover claims that the film is Closed Captioned, but I couldn’t find the option. At least what’s lacking in the audio/video is made up for in a fun “Behind the Scenes” (23:43) featurette. The cast and crew clearly had a blast making the film, something that thankfully shows up on camera. There are also trailers for additional RLJ/Image Entertainment releases both available and upcoming: Wolf Creek 2, Way of the Wicked, and Cabin Fever: Patient Zero.
McKee is a household name amongst horror fans after his amazing debut with May, and who can forget the audience-member meltdown during the Sundance screening of The Woman? Here, he joins forces admirably with Sivertson who manage to keep their tongues firmly in cheek making All Cheerleaders Die essentially a zombified version of Mean Girls — with cheerleaders. The visuals work better when they’re kept practical, such as the gore and action, and it even ends on a cliffhanger. Right before the end credits we get a surprise twist and a title card renames the whole movie All Cheerleaders Die Part 1, informing us that there may be a sequel on its way. Considering the film was finally finding its own pace, this makes sense and I can’t wait to see what McKee and Sivertson can come up with next. As for All Cheerleaders Die Part 2? I say, bring it on![amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00JMLQGQ0]