REVIEW: ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTORS: LUCKY MCKEE, CHRIS SIVERTSON / SCREENPLAY: LUCKY MCKEE, CHRIS SIVERTSON / STARRING: CAITLIN STASEY, SIANOA SMIT-MCPHEE, BROOKE BUTLER, AMANDA GRACE COOPER, TOM WILLIAMSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (VOD, US), SEPT 15TH (UK)
Back in 2001, writer/director Lucky McKee (The Woman, May) and Chris Sivertson (The Lost) made their debut by shooting an ultra-cheap feature on video. Now, the pair have remade and overhauled their obscure indie flick with this much slicker update.
When a position becomes available on the school's cheerleading squad, Maddy (Stasey) decides she will try out in order to infiltrate and bring down the arrogant captain of the football team (Williamson), and the vacuous, bitchy cheerleaders. This horrifies her ex, Leena (Smit-McPhee), who just so happens to be a practicing Wiccan. After a disastrous night leaves the cheerleaders dead, Leena uses her powers to revive them, but they develop a taste for blood.
After a superb opening prologue where Maddy films a candid documentary about the cheerleading squad (which ends with such a fantastic shock it would be cruel to reveal it) aside from the occasional flourish, it's all downhill. Despite having all the hallmarks of what should make a great horror: the high school setting, lots of gore, bloodthirsty, nubile young women and a fantastic director onboard, All Cheerleaders Die sadly fails to live up to expectations. It's very well made (some dodgy effects aside) but feels too much like a selection of random sequences made to segue. Films such as Heathers and Jennifer's Body succeeded in representing the cutthroat nature of American high school life, thanks to a clear, focused set of characters to process the madness through. Despite the cast doing a great job, none of the antagonists or protagonists here are remotely likable, dead or undead. Therefore, we really don't care about their predicament. The girls are mostly head-wobbling pseudo-gangster-talking bitches (which is pretty much what they call themselves) and the 'jocks' are lamebrain prejudiced morons. Even the wannabe-witch - who is the nearest we have to a hero figure - is a clingy, stalker type with few redeemable qualities.
That said, as a no-brain teen horror film, it does the trick, but we really expected more from it, particularly with the anticipation and McKee's pedigree, although it's still much better than the original.