I really wanted to like All Cheerleaders Die I really did. Personally I think Bring It On and several of its sequels are seriously underrated postmodern teen comedies with surreptitious satirical sides and the prospect of a mash up of their main elements with a high school horror flick all directed by The Woman’s Lucky McKee had me cheering from the sidelines well before the FrightFest screening was even announced.
Sadly however All Cheerleaders Die doesn’t live up to expectations at all feeling more like a lackluster hybrid horror concocted in some Hollywood studio board meeting by suits with fake smiles yelling “what’s cool right now cheerleaders and witches right? okay let’s make a movie about them” while signing off on a budget for several million dollars and ordering lunch on their new iPhones.
This is not the case and in fact All Cheerleaders Die is a remake of McKee and co-writer and director Chris Sivertson’s 2001 movie of the same name and maybe this is the origin of the first problem as the film feels horribly dated somehow probably because when they original had the idea Bring It On had only come out the previous year and a horror parody seemed somewhat more relevant.
Fast forward to 2014 and audiences have had more than their fill of forked tongue in cheek high school horror’s from the original genre defining classics like Wes Craven’s 1996 Scream and Robert Rodriguez 1998 The Faculty all the way through to Cherry Falls, The Loved Ones and Jennifer’s Body via Buffy making this a much less original idea.
So what is the plot then? Well put simply a group of cheerleaders including Caitlin Stasey, Brooke Butler, Amanda Grace Cooper and Reanin Johannink are driven off the road deliberately by the football team and then resurrected by Wiccan Leena played by Sianoa Smit-McPhee who transforms them into undead super powered kick ass warriors who eat people and crave revenge on the boys that murdered them.
So far so good I hear you say and its true to basic plot is fun, the cast is solid and the effects are pretty good but it’s all extremely facile and forgettable with an uninspired script and hideously clichéd characters from the airhead blonde bitch to the uptight Christian virgin that we have seen a million times before in every other teen movie.
Worst of all is the ending which leaves us on a cliffhanger annoyingly queueing up a sequel which may or may not ever appear, a dumb trick I hate in any movie regardless of how many parts the original novel was and really didn’t expect to see here.
Ultimately I guess I just expected much more from the combination of people involved and ideas on the table and that disappointment tainted any enjoyability to be found in the film which afterwards felt far too simplistic, derivative and aimed at the lowest common denominator.
All Cheerleaders Die is as unsatisfying as a fast food Kids Meal and as throwaway as the free toy you get with it. It’s just Bring It On meets The Craft except gorier so my advice is just watch Bring It On and The Craft separately instead.