Earlier this week, I caught up with some of the cast and creative team at the Hollywood premiere of their new movie Tragedy Girls, a horror comedy that flips the slasher genre on its head.
The film centers around two high school best friends (Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp) who become obsessed with being social media famous and begin killing people in their small town to do so. It’s a new, fresh kind of horror film, a sentiment all of those I spoke to seemed to echo.
Actress Elise Neal, who plays the mother of Alexandra Shipp’s character, knew the movie was a very different kind of horror film from the beginning. “What was cool was when I read [the script], that’s when I knew that I wanted to be in it. This movie is so fun. It’s so sexy, it’s so crazy, it’s all of these things. I felt like I had to be a part of it.” Jack Quaid, who plays Jordan, the sheriffs son and unwitting friend to the tragedy girls, emphatically agrees. “What I really love about it is it takes the horror movie trope of the final girl and flips it on its head. My character, in a lesser horror movie, my character would have been the lead of the film trying to piece together who’s killing people but in this one it’s flipped. It’s got a lot of girl power”
According to Director Tyler MacIntyre, that’s all by design. “We sort of re-conceptualized [the genre] to kind of make the victims of a classic slasher the perpetrators and kind of build out the narrative from there. My first movie was a horror/comedy so I’m cheating a little but a lot of my favorite movies are horror/comedy and slasher/comedy. Evil Dead 2 was my favorite movie growing up. Even though it’s super tricky, I think people need to take more risks with tone and I think horror comedy is a great space to do that.” Which is precisely why, when producer Kerry Rhodes came across the original script that would become the basis for Tragedy Girls, he hired MacIntyre for the job. “The name alone [drew me] at first. I heard Tragedy Girls and thought ‘that’s different.’ I knew [MacIntyre] could make this thing fresh and twisted.”
But not only is the film a subversion of the slasher genre, it’s a product of Hollywood’s new commitment to cultivating diversity in film and television. Something both the actors and production team find refreshing.
“We need to flip the switch, especially with horror. It’s been pretty male-centric for a while, in terms of like the final girl is always running with very little clothing on. It can be a little misogynistic. I’m glad we’re having these movies where women have the power. It’s really cool.” Quaid gushed.
Neal was quick to echo his sentiment. “We’re in a different world now. You know, it’s kind of weird if people don’t make diverse things now, right? That’s the way it should be.”
“It’s huge. To have a woman of color [as the lead], [especially one] like Alexandra [Shipp] – she’s awesome. She’s really talented. She’s probably gonna be the next Halle Barry. For me, I’m just blessed to be doing this with people like [our cast and crew].” Rhodes concluded.
If you’re into exciting and fresh new films from innovative and unique voices, don’t miss the opportunity to check this one out. Tragedy Girls is now playing.