ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE
Both Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson are clearly capable of doing much better things so it is a mystery as to why they have reteamed here to conduct a close remake of All Cheerleaders Die. The original is not exactly a film that many people saw or regarded as a classic that is burning to be given a better-budgeted treatment or anything of the sort. The only theory left seems to be that McKee and Svertson either had such fun, enjoyed working together or were so attached to the idea that they wanted to repeat the experience.
The title gives you the impression that we are in for a spoof of the slasher film maybe something like a twisted version of Mean Girls (2004). However, as the film sets in, this turns out to be far from the case. Indeed, All Cheerleaders Die frequently has you scratching your head trying to work out exactly what it is that McKee and Sivertson are doing. Although some of the film gives the impression of launching into the slasher film as the title suggests, what we have seems more along the lines of a film like Tamara (2005) and Jennifers Body (2009) about resurrected teenage girls taking vengeance around the high school. Despite the film being sold in the horror comedy vein, you often you get the impression that McKee and Sivertson are taking the show quite seriously. In this regard, there are times that All Cheerleaders Die works well like one scene where it becomes apparent that Caitlin Stasey is manipulating head cheerleader Brooke Butler and especially where the two taunt Tom Williamson (not an actor you would immediately think to cast as a jock but who does a fine job projecting controlled menace as the captain of the football team) and challenge him to punch her out.
About the thirty-five minute mark, the film abruptly kills off the girls and then has them resurrected from the dead whereupon All Cheerleaders Die starts to get weird. The girls come back not quite right and where some (but not all) of them have managed to swap their minds into the others girls bodies. The film then goes for broke in a scene with them turning on and attacking neighbour Michael Bowen. What starts as a serious film then becomes one about resurrected cheerleaders and high school revenge with a strong element of rivalry between the jocks and cheerleaders. It is a film that seems all over the place. For instance, much is made in the early scenes of how Caitlin Stasey is going undercover to the cheerleader squad and we get the impression that she is seeking revenge for her friends death but this is an element that never rears its head again except briefly at the very end.
I felt myself far too confused by the films random changes of direction to get into it. Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson have both demonstrated they can do far better than making what would otherwise be just forgettable direct-to-dvd teen horror fodder. If anybody else were directing, for instance, All Cheerleaders Die would be an unremarkable film; however, with their names attached to it, it received a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and played at a bunch of others. The end credits bizarrely announce that this is Part 1 or what is presumably a series of films.