All Cheerleaders Die (Movie Review)

All Cheerleaders Die (Movie Review)
3 10

PLOT: When the head cheerleader at Black Foot High accidentally breaks her neck, a newly appointed girl unleashes a bizarre supernatural curse that soon threatens them all.

REVIEW: After molding for us THE WOMAN, a competently made, almost-perfectly-pitched-black horror-comedy, Lucky McKee returns to the director's chair with ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE. Did I say returns? More like REVERTS, as this is quite likely the worst movie Mckee has yet to make. Perhaps it was the decision to jointly script and helm with Chris Sivertson, I'm not sure, but whatever the case, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE suffers from far too many deficiencies - all stemming from a haphazard, completely jumbled screenplay that seems none too concerned for either plot, character, genre or tone. The flick is an utter slog, a pigsty of poorly executed scenes that in the end, resembles nothing more than a stupefying extended music-video featuring amateur, borderline Skinemax actresses and unwatchable special FX. Real shit, you're better off just whacking it to 90s cheerleader porn with Nina Hartley than watching this sad assemblage of wannabe Buffy and TWILIGHT fare. A shame too, all I had were low expectations of a stupid little slasher joint. No. Such. Luck.

Okay, let's try to get through this. After a rather bewildering prologue, in which the head cheerleader bitch Alexis - all sass and no ass - accidentally breaks her neck during a routine, a new crop of alpha-females are anointed. Among the initiated is Lena, a Wiccan witch who infiltrates the squad in order to fuck shit up I guess. Trust me, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that whatever action happens in the flick, it all springboards from a party thrown in the woods one night. Meet the football captain Terry, a shirtless Abercrombie alpha-dog who runs through more pussy than James Deen. He used to bone Alexis, the dead bitch, and now has his pick of the litter. Whatever. He gets in an argument with one of the cheerleaders at the party, Tracy, and soon enough a drunken car-chase ensues that ends none too well. Blood is shed. Thing is, with a coincidental full moon, Lena's 5 multicolored Wiccan stones happen to align just right with the spilled blood that unleashes a bizarre curse...one that grants supernatural powers, orgasmic ones to boot. All of it is confusing and way too convoluted for its own good, not to mention wracked with such chintzy, Saturday-cartoons-from-the-90s-style special FX. Seriously, I kept thinking is this a horror movie or a goddamn Power Rangers episode!

The plot and story aren't worth elaborating on beyond that, because McKee and Sivertson never really expound. I can say that tonally, the flick is all over the map. Is it a slasher joint? A high-school comedy? A supernatural witch picture? A soft-core porn? The hardest thing for a director to do is establish and maintain a consistent tonality, or seamlessly transition from one to another, something McKee did extremely well with THE WOMAN. Makes one that much more infuriated then that this feels completely muddled in a way you might expect from a feature first-timer. Oh wait, that's right, McKee's very first film was a zombie movie shot on tape in 2001 called, you guessed it, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE. Sadly, all the skill-sets he accrued in the intervening 13 years never really translated between first flick to last. In fact, the only carry over from film to film, other than the title, is the utter incompetence of an amateur filmmaker. What the hell happened Lucky?

I could go on to grouse about the absence of boobies until the 57 minute mark, this despite being a 90-minute horror flick with not just the word cheerleaders in the title, but one starring a dozen 20-something hotties. I could lament the terrible CG blood, or hammer home the point about the eye-blindingly cheap special FX. I could gripe about the incessant porno-moaning-and-groaning the characters in the film wail out ad nauseam, this despite NOT having sex for 99% of the time. I could wax invidious about why I think Michael Bowen likely took the gig, just so he could pop a Cialis in order to launch a load in his shorts while being gang-devoured by a gaggle of moaning, scantily clad nubile carnivores. Lucky sumbitch! And speaking of the acting, I must say, all the ladies are acquitted here, for they never had a chance to shine performance wise given the material they're saddled with. I'm sure the lot of them are far more capable of what they were allowed to showcase here. Brooke Butler is pretty adorable in her amateur acting, with kudos going to the lone line that made me bust an audible tee-hee chortle. When asked where her boyfriend is, she wryly replies with: "probably eating dick somewhere." Yeah, trust me, that's one of the better lines. Props also go out to Aussie actress Caitlin Stasey for doing all she could to ground her performance in the realm of the believable.

Look, in no way, shape, or form is ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE a good movie. It's not even in the let's get really high and drunk and maybe it'll fall into the so-bad-it's-good category. It pretty much fails on every level, save for a semi-standout performance or two from Butler and Stasey. Other than that, the story is nubilous at best, the bad CG and special FX are tacky to the point of obsolescence, the tonal shifts are inept and abrupt, and worst of all, it just isn't very scary or entertaining. After making really cool genre joints like MAY, RED and THE WOMAN - there's no way in hell I would have guessed Lucky McKee had anything to do with this bucket of bilge. I'm giving the flick a 3/10 rating, only for the sexy cast I at times felt sorry for. You want a recommendation...go watch BLOODY POM POMS from 1988 instead!

Extra Tidbit: ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE is currently available on VOD. It then hits limited theaters on June 13th.



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