All Cheerleaders Die (2013) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

All Cheerleaders Die (2013) Review

Horrorific content by jessicagomez on May 06th, 2020 | Movie Review | Comedy, Female Revenge, Back from the Dead, Teen

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When witchcraft meets vengeful cheerleaders, the results are murderous.

All Cheerleaders Die was directed by Lucky McKee (May, The Woods, The Woman) & Chris Sivertson (The Lost) and stars Sidney Allison (from Headgame), Caitlin Stacey (from Fear), Brooke Butler (from The Sand), Amanda Grace Cooper and Reanin Johannink.

You can't kill their spirit

With a revamped script, a larger budget, and multitudes more experience, Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson remade their ultra low-budget 2001 video feature into the 2013 horror comedy All Cheerleaders Die. Sivertson previously directed the infamous Lindsay Lohan film I Know Who Killed Me (I liked it!!), and McKee is perhaps best known for May, a dark cult classic that features a weird girl trying, and failing, to fit into society. In Cheerleaders, a much lighter and more fun departure from both May and I Know Who Killed Me, the weird girls get to be center stage, taking over like a better-intentioned Violet in Jawbreaker. But does Cheerleaders carry the same cachet as Jawbreaker or May? Let’s explore.

A tragic accident makes room on the cheerleading squad, and Maddy, a childhood friend of the deceased, who is a bit of an outcast, retools herself as squad-worthy in order to infiltrate. Her goal is to bring shame to the deceased’s boyfriend, who has moved on in record time, and she plans to use her status as a cheerleader to ruin his senior year.

Like a Wiccan version of Bring It On, the alternative loner has the skills to make the squad, and she quickly befriends the new captain. A purposefully over-the-top version of high school stereotypes are showcased, from the popular cliques to the goth kids, which is really the only aspect of the film that remains a comedy. When Maddy’s ex-girlfriend Leena, a fan of the dark arts, finds that something is amiss, she does her best to protect her using witchcraft. When yet another series of unfortunate events - a truly gut-wrenching experience - strikes some of the squad and a number of deaths occur, Leena is the only one willing to try anything to save them. Her spell works - but there are major consequences.

Extremely reminiscent of Jennifer's Body (though not copying it), the cheerleaders come back from the dead even more confident, and with a new bloodthirst. There’s also a splash of Freaky Friday, but it doesn’t really pan out or lend itself to furthering the story. The acting is really great from the women in the film, ebbing and flowing between bitchy and backstabbing to completely terrified to powerful and cannibalistic - but I can’t say the same for the men. 

As in one of the films it is mocking, John Tucker Must Die, the jock deserves some lashing out, and what McKee and Sivertson were smart about is they made the target a purely evil person in order to make the storyline work for horror. He’s a realistically scary guy who seems capable of anything, and it makes him a worthy adversary even for those with supernatural abilities.

Low budget graphics are utilized to keep it campy and fun, but it takes you out of the moment for scenes that otherwise would have actually been scary or more effective. For all of its campy aspects, there is plenty of gore and a couple of harrowing scenes that are unexpected in something that’s billed as part comedy. 

Worth Watching?

Yes; it’s more than a run-of-the-mill slasher, even if some of the character arcs could have used some polishing. I preferred Jennifer’s Body to this film, but I still found it easily watchable and it did surprise me at times. Is it funny? Not really. It’s more ridiculous and poking fun than it is an actual laugh-fest, though watching it with a group of friends would probably make the experience funnier. The same story would have been better told had it focused strictly on teen horror. Had it gone the way of The Faculty in that aspect, this may have been a new cult classic.

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