Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day. Or whenever I fucking feel like it.
Despite what a million cliche Rom-Coms would have you believe, it’s not love that binds us all together, its fear. Mankind has always had a fascination with the macabre. Starting at the beginning of time with Neanderthal cave drawings that depict unfathomable monsters that await inside the darkness, to the internet equivalent of camp fire stories in the form of creepypastas, man has always used terrifying imagery to teach and to entertain.
Since fear is an excellent motivator, Horror is the easiest form of storytelling to turn into an allegory. The Brothers Grimm figured out years ago that if you inject a little horror into a parable, the didactic meaning will stick. Don’t eat candy like a fucking glutton or a witch will eat your fat ass. Don’t fall in love or you’ll turn into sea foam. Don’t fall in love or a wolf will eat your babies. Don’t trust anyone and do as your told or everything you love will disappear and you’ll turn into a donkey. Germany doesn’t fuck around.
Germany used horror as a symbol to scare their children into behaving and about one hundred and fifty years after the brothers Grimm died, America used it as a right wing propaganda to punish the sinful. Replacing German mysticism with a guy with a giant murder knife and cute anthropomorphic animals with sex addicted teens, the 80’s slashers were all about penalizing a good time. Drugs, premarital sex and booze were no-no’s and the punishment was a machete to the face. The parable being that if you weren’t Amish, you didn’t deserve to live in Reagan’s America. Or something. Politics are stupid.
Much like the decade itself, the genre burnt out rather quickly. Within four years, the Friday the 13th series was already declaring the fourth entry The Final Chapter, which should be a clear indication of how fast these things were being cranked out. The genres popularity waned with moviegoers till it officially came back with Scream.
Audiences loved its clever subversion of cliches and it’s pitch black humor. It was a slasher that commented on the tropes of slashers as they were happening. It perfected the meta narrative long before Deadpool ever broke the fourth wall to crack wise about chimichangas.
And then slashers were back.
Everyone wanted to ape of its success. Even Michael Bay got into the game. But as quickly as the wave rose, it crashed back down again. Slashers were dead. Not even the brilliant Cabin in the Woods could bring it back.
But if there was one film that could bring it out of its dormancy, it’s Tragedy Girls.
Eschewing cliches at every turn and telling a brand new parable that deals directly with the 21st century, Tragedy Girls is every bit as clever as Scream and even more cynical than Heathers.
The film is about two serial-killer obsessed teens (Brianna Hildebrand and Alexanda Shipp) that use the real life terrors inflicted on their town to boost their social media popularity. To say anything more than that might give away the hook but the brilliant thing about this film is, just like the best Kanye West song, it’s got nothing but hooks.
Most horror films will hang their entire plots on one idea, I.E., wise cracking ghoul who kills you in your dreams, a newly possessed child’s doll that stalks a kid to become immortal or something, a giant monster lizard that hates Japan for some reason. Tragedy Girls has at least five films worth of clever ideas packed into it but it never feels over stuffed.
Each idea feels organic and they all serve the narrative. Nothing is superfluous and nothing is added for stylistic effect like other films of this type.
*Cough* The Babysitter *cough*
Germany may tell horrific stories of witches and Krampuses (Krampusi? Krampii?) and the 80’s may have been obsessed with punishing fun but Tragedy Girls tells the scariest parable of all:
Social media is evil and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.