FrightFest 2014: All Cheerleaders Die Review

By Martyn Conterio

Maddy Killian (Caitlin Stasey) is out for revenge against a clique of jocks and cheerleaders. Like a high school Donnie Brasco, teen avenger Maddy goes deep undercover and passes off as a new member of the in-crowd. She has tasked herself with disrupting the lives of Terry (Tom Stankus) and Tracy (Brooke Butler). However, her sneaky plot has terrible consequences.

There is no denying that Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson’s All Cheerleaders Die is a messy affair, but it is hugely entertaining. It comes off like a foulmouthed Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you can get past the necrophilia jokes, supernatural silliness and every other line of dialogue ending with ‘bitch’ or ‘bitches’, the film has a soft chewy centre. It’s all about love and doing all you can for the one you love. Bless…

The major problem with the film is that it takes aim at a lot of targets and rarely scores a direct hit. The tone veers wildly from wannabe Heathers black comedy to deconstructing female figures in horror. On both counts, it doesn’t quite work out. McKee and Sivertson direct with panache and verve – it’s like they made this while high on a sugar rush from endless packets of Skittles and cans of Dr. Pepper – but the energy is just too wild to settle and ever satisfy.

As mentioned, the most positive aspect of All Cheerleaders Die is the love story. Maddy is the object desire for teen witch Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee). Maddy can’t stand to be around her because she’s too clingy and, you know, just a general social embarrassment. Leena is so besotted with Maddy that she named a kitten ‘Little Maddy’. This freaks the girl out, and rightly so. When the love of her life is killed, along with a trio of cheerleaders, in a car crash caused by evil jock Terry, Leena defies the laws of the universe. Getting her witchcraft on, the quartet return from the grave as vampire-zombie-succubi that crave human blood. Blackfoot High will never be the same again…

Taken as a gothic romance, All Cheerleaders Die is endearing. Although one half the duo is playing a dead chick without a heartbeat, Stasey and Smit-McPhee, who co-starred years ago in Aussie soap Neighbours, are wonderful together. Love conquers all, bitches.

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