All Cheerleaders Die

I honestly don’t know how to classify this movie. When I was making a list of movies that looked good for Halloween, I saw that All Cheerleaders Die was a comedy/horror movie. I wouldn’t say that this is an accurate description. Comedy is something that makes you laugh or at least smile and at no point did that happen. While it’s true the movie is kind of quirky at times, I can’t call it a comedy. The horror part is definitely accurate as the movie has a dark mood throughout even during the sunniest, happiest scenes. There is also a lot of horribly disturbing things that happen. In a period where a lot of horror movies are filled with jump scares, a movie where there is true horror is rare. This movie has dread, weirdness and a dark feeling that really resonates.

It feels like cheerleaders have a long tradition in horror. Usually they’re the victims in slasher movies, flailing helplessly as they’re gutted by some psycho. Of course, people probably did this because cheerleading is seen as very feminine and it’s scary to see that destroyed. There may be deeper issues there. Cheerleading, despite my belief that it’s not quite a sport, is very athletic and your average cheerleader could probably endure a lot physically and mentally. I mean, Joss Whedon knew that. So this movie gives cheerleaders a little credit as they become tougher than nails and creepy as hell.

The movie starts slow and at first I thought I had accidentally chosen a found footage film. Thankfully it’s just a little bit of footage to set up some of the interpersonal relationships that will drive the film. The mistake I made was thinking that the characters would be shallow, two-dimensional characters that would be lead to the slaughter. By the time I was well into the movie, I started to see that there were a lot of gray areas and deeper issues on display. The movie is not for the faint of heart and definitely has some fairly graphic sexual issues but I think it’s done in a fairly reasonable way (although it’s still disturbing). It’s mostly about what happens when supernatural forces intervene in everyday high school life, a time when we’re already weird and emotional.

I wasn’t going to suggest people see this movie but as it went on, I got more and more intrigued as I got pulled into the story and the characters. The movie became scarier as it got weirder and, I can’t really explain what was going on but I embraced it and I was rewarded. The movie eventually picked up just about the time I was invested in the story and characters and drove hard toward its conclusion. Then the credits hit and the words “All Cheerleaders Die: Part One” came on the screen and I’m all for Part Two if it ever comes out. I change my initial impression and suggest you check this one out because it must be seen to be believed.

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