Review of Tragedy Girls & Mom and Dad
By: Jason Bechard

Hey, I Watched This!
Reviewing a Movie I've watched recently.

Hello again, Folks! I've got a couple of new Horror movies to share with you, and it's kind of a "Good News/Bad news" situation. As usual, I will try to hold back spoilers, but in the case of the 'Bad" flick, I may be doing you a favor.

First, the "bad news".

Tragedy Girls, written by Chris Lee Hill, Tyler MacIntyre, and based on a screenplay by Justin Olson. Directed by Tyler MacIntyre, and starring Brianna Hildebrand(Negasonic Teenage Warhead from Deadpool), Alexandra Shipp(Storm from X–Men:Apocalypse), and Kevin Durand(from a crap ton of flicks).

Where to start? UGH! Here's the synopsis, from IMDB.com.

"A twist on the slasher genre, following two death–obsessed teenage girls who use their online show about real–life tragedies to send their small mid–western town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends."

Sounds a little familiar, doesn't it? That's because it kind of is. It's a "new generation" version of Scream(1996), although, not nearly as smartly delivered. A large part of the plot centers around the main characters use of social media to discuss their opinions, and the effect, of the local "accidents", and the ineptitude of the local sheriff's office. Problem is it's not really ineptitude. It comes across as downright blind, non–existent investigating, and it is stuff like that, that really pisses me off. Small town sheriff or not, you have resources, people you can call, to process the obvious clues, not too mention, not even half of the crap "the girls" post about the crime scenes, should be enough to make them suspects, if not tampering, or obstruction of justice. While the story tries to be satirical of traditional horror tropes, it comes across as borderline parody. It's labelled as a Horror Comedy, but most of the movie feels like they were trying to be a serious horror film. The dark comedic bits that occur really feel disjointed, from the vibe of the rest of the movie. I know, movies aren't supposed to be real. But, if your movie feels like it wants to be serious, then it has to maintain a sense of realism.

Hildebrand's "Sadie" and Shipp's "McKayla" are "The Tragedy Girls", and in my opinion, their characters were, indeed, tragedies. From psycho, to vapid high schooler, to somewhat "normal" sensitive young women, and back the psycho, they travel all over the map. Once again, disjointed. It almost came across as schizophrenic, which may have been on purpose, but there's never any clear explanation or context, for it, which felt weird. Durand's "Lowell" was fine, as the stereotypical backwoods serial killer, with a one track mind, and it played well. The saddest part for me though, was Craig Robinson. His role can only be considered as slightly above cameo level, and there's none of his usual charisma. He's just there, and then, he's not. Makes me sad.

Overall, Tragedy Girls is a tragic mess. 2 Stars!

And now, the "good news".

Mom and Dad, written and directed by Brian Taylor. Starring Nicolas Cage(Yes, that Nic Cage), Selma Blair(Yes, that Selma Blair), Anne Winters, and Zackary Arthur. WHAT A RIDE!

Here's the IMDB.com synopsis.

"A teenage girl, and her little brother, must survive a wild 24 hours, during which a mass hysteria, of unknown origins, causes parents to turn violently on their own kids."

Sound familiar? NOPE, not really! Sure, we've seen killer rage kids(Cooties, a good companion piece for this movie), and we've seen killer adults targeting kids, but I have never heard of a flick, where parents attack their kids, and ONLY their kids! I'll be honest kids as victims, in a serious flick, disturbs the hell out of me.

While the opening credits to this film feel like a "cheesy b–movie from the '70's", the movie itself looks modern, and feels "real". There's a slow build, as you see things happening around, and hear news reports, but when the movie shifts gears, it shifts to HIGH gear, and slams on the gas! And the scene in the hospital, disturbed me so much, I had to pause the movie and take a few minutes to collect myself. While there is no clear explanation for the hysteria, there are hints. The constant news reports, including a very eerie interview with a father who explains how he felt about what he had done, and the background/throwaway signs of off–camera carnage, really fills out the story. I don't know if there are any plans for a prequel/sequel, but I kind of like not really knowing the "why".

Now, if you are a fan of Nicolas Cage, the every–man actor, with his charisma, and his meme–inducing acting choices, you are truly going to love him in this film. It's Nic Cage, going bat–shit crazy, chewing the hell out of the scenery, almost literally. What's not to love? Selma Blair, whom I always saw as sweet and innocent, does a slow burn, that eventually, almost catches up to Cage. They made a great pair. There is a rather touching scene between them, where they discuss a Mid–life crisis, seems a little odd, but it resonated with me, a middle–aged father myself, and gave us a glimpse of the motivation behind the hysteria. Winters and Arthur, as the scrappy kids, fighting for their lives, do an admirable job, staying somewhat grounded, opposite Cage and Blair's crazy! Oh, and Lance Henriksen, who comes in late in the film, matches Cage's crazy, with a bit of "grizzled Vietnam vet" flair, and it's awesome!

The movie is not very graphic, but it doesn't need to be. It let's your imagination fill in the blanks, which can be way more effective. If it had been a gorefest, it wouldn't have been as shocking. Plus, I'm pretty sure, no sane person, would actually want to see, serious, graphic horror violence, against children.

Overall, it's a rage virus flick, with a family twist, and I loved it! 4 STARS!

See you next month, Folks!