I don't know about you but I think dumb thoughts sometimes. So sometimes, in my deep dark deplorable places, I'll read a piece decrying "Social Justice Warriors" and the tendency to be politically outraged about every little thing and I can feel a dumb thrum inside of me nodding - oh don't cry for me, the white man, and my difficulty with being one hundred percent open-minded all the time, I beg of you. (As if.) But the part of me that wallows in John Waters and revels in Paul Verhoeven (again with the white men) sometimes worries we might be losing something by scurrying away from every goofy offense.
And then a movie like Tragedy Girls comes along and reminds me what we're gaining. Because like the saying goes - we're not losing a daughter, we're gaining a son, and in this case the "son" is the ability for everybody of every sex, color, and creed, to be foul-mouthed and bad-tempered and nasty pigs in on the joke, and that's a celebration. A joy! Comedy, not tragedy!
Tragedy Girls, the whipsmart and funny and hilariously gory new flick from director Tyler MacIntyre that just played the Fantasia Festival, quickly subverts our expectations of the Slasher formula, which in itself isn't so unique - we've been expecting that ever since Drew Barrymore fondled that butcher knife while nonchalant chit-chatting about Jason Voorhees with her soon-to-be murderer. But Slasher Films (and much of Horror itself, for that matter) came about as a way for Men to experience and expatiate the terror that we make Women exist in on a day to day basis. Slashers are the dark cloud of male guilt in movie form - we sit down and feel what it's like for women to be hounded, terrorized, sexualized, exploited and brutalized, and come out on the other side Wiser, Harder, all weakness expunged by trial of fire.
Basically the Final Girl trope lets us off the hook at the end. (Sometimes literally, depending on the killer's tool!) I'm sure Women have a similar experience with these movies - they do make up the majority of the audience for them, after all. But Tragedy Girls (which was written and directed by men, it should be noted) seems to exist in the next level of male-female inter-personality - what comes next? Well Women Are Doing It For Themselves, of course, and Women Can Have It All, Too - they can be Killer and Victim and every goddamn girly thing in between too of they want to, and we'll all happily ride along.
I'm throwing some Very Serious Ideas at a Very Unserious Movie, but I think Tragedy Girls can handle it. Sadie & McKayla (played by the effervescent tag-team of Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp, both alums of the extended X-Men Universe) can handle anything. Serial Killers, Instagram Likes, Prom Dates, Prom Massacres - hell the slashing isn't even the problem. What matters is the bond between these two women - can it withstand the societal pressures that we pile on young women? And can they get all of those guts cleaned up before shop class reconvenes?