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All Cheerleaders Die – 6

Director – Lucky McKee, Chris Sivertson

Cast – Caitlin Stasey, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Brooke Butler, Tom Williamson, Amanda Grace Cooper, Reanin Johannink, Nicholas S. Morrison, Chris Petrovski, Leigh Parker

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

In 2001 the now-veteran genre directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson started their post-college careers with a low budget horror film titled All Cheerleaders Die. Now a decade later, these directors have given us some of the best horror films this millennium. McKee’s May and The Woman have made their marks on the genre, and Sivertson’s The Lost is a fantastic adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s novel. We’ll go ahead and pretend Silvertson never directed the laughable I Know Who Killed Me. With their careers established they chose to remake their initial film, and for the most part they did well. Considering the great films on their resumes I did expect better from the new All Cheerleaders Die, and found it to be a mostly mediocre film in the end.

When a group of high school football players cause the deaths of the fleeing cheerleading team, a cheerleader’s ex girlfriend uses a pagan ritual to raise them from the dead and take revenge on the jocks responsible for their deaths.

The overall story is one that I really like. I cannot say it is common for cheerleaders to be the killers in a horror film, and when you throw in the revenge element you have a winner in my eyes. It takes a good while before the horror hits – when the cheerleaders meet their demise – but the writers do a decent job of keeping you engaged before then. I personally was not too into the film during its first act, but things definitely kick into high gear during the second act. This is when we see the cheerleaders resurrected and forced to “feed” on the living to maintain their new way of life. They did not ask to be resurrected and some are not very happy at what Leena, a young witch, did in bringing them back. One by one they begin killing off the football players involved in their initial deaths, and during the second act these kills are without conflict. Eventually the head jock, Terry, catches on to what is going on and begins fighting back. It was then that the horror started to hit the screen in good fashion.

I enjoyed the horror that was provided but felt like it could have been much better. The cheerleaders were hardly daunting figures and were instead executed in very cliché fashion. At first they are the usual sensual teens, but by the end of the film they are maniacally impulsive, emotional, weak, and downright annoying at times. I really wanted better from them and the horror they provided. The idea of them going from protagonists to antagonist killers is pretty cool, but they were pretty poor as killers and that is a darn shame.

The direction from McKee and Sivertson is OK but I definitely expected better from directors with their film history. Their execution is good at first, but once the horror hit their began to lose their film. Horrible CGI takes over and not only during the kill sequences. The CGI is most disappointing during the kill sequences though, with very little live-action gore for us to enjoy. Now, there are some scenes where practical effects would have been very hard to accomplish given the complex kill, but I still expect the practical effects to be used during the simpler scenes and they simply were not. Newcoming actor Tom Williamson excels in this effort, with the other actors doing a decent job of executing their roles. Obviously the cliches are heavy and the usual high school themed cheese is there, however it is obvious that McKee and Sivertson had potential with this one and failed to achieve it.

Overall, All Cheerleaders Die is an OK experience that should have been much better considering the storyline and talent behind it.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

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