I was never particularly good at math. Not because I couldn’t figure out the formulas, merely because I hated the subject so intensely that I was unwilling to harbor the interest required to truly master it. However, sometimes math is easy. For example: Theatrical Release + Name like All Cheerleaders Die + ??? = Success! See? Easy math. As a result of said equation, I was pretty excited to watch this when it came out, expecting a quirky flick with decent effects and a strong enough script that it would actually be considered for theaters, which is usually my favorite kind. I was either wrong, or overestimating what I wanted the film to be. With that said, let’s take a look at All Cheerleaders Die. This movie has varied strengths and weaknesses of different sorts. Unfortunately, I feel like its weaknesses tend to have a bit more weight to them. Let’s start off with my biggest issue – the pacing. This has the longest beginning of any movie ever that isn’t just… like, a beginning and nothing else. For a movie called All Cheerleaders Die, for some reason I expected some cheerleaders to die before the forty-minute mark. There is technically a cheerleader who dies right away, but she’s not a developed character and also doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot. The beginning is long and meandering, taking its time introducing characters that you still don’t really get to know until the middle act. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The story opens with the Head Bitch cheerleader (no, they actually call themselves Bitches – the football players are called Dogs), Lexi, whose name I only remember because it’s also my name. In the midst of expressing just how awful she is, she does an acrobatic move and falls, snapping her neck and instantly dying. This happens within about the first five minutes and has no real impact, besides two minor things. 1) There’s an opening on the team, and 2) Her boyfriend is now open for business, and is quickly snatched up by Blondie. Which reminds me. The characters’ names are not really said enough in this to commit to memory, so I’m creating taglines for them. Maddie, the protagonist. The only character whose name I remember. Gothy, who is goth, a witch (like a real one), and has the hots for Maddy. Blondie, who is blonde. Alpha-Sister (or A-Sis), the more domineering of a pair of sisters. Beta-Sister (or B-Sis), the more meek and shy of a pair of sisters. Walking Disaster (or WD), Lexi’s boyfriend and the captain of the football team. So obviously malicious and sociopathic that anyone who does not notice that he’s inches from cold-blooded murder at all times should be chemically blinded since they clearly have no use for their eyes anyway. Anyway, the first act, as previously mentioned, is considerably too long. It establishes things like who’s going to be getting onto the cheerleading team, the fact that WD cheated on Blondie, the fact that Gothy is mad about Maddie (see what I did? heh), and the fact that Maddie herself is only insinuating herself into this lifestyle out of spite. Doesn’t sound like much to establish in over half an hour, does it? Well, that’s because this beginning section has more dead air, awkward silences, and pointless shots than a documentary about dentistry. It seems to pretend it’s a darker version of Bring It On, but with far less impressive acrobatics and even less of a story. This first act also introduces us to the most bizarre relationship I’ve seen in a while. After Blondie finds out that WD cheated on her, she enters a very vague, “are they or aren’t they” lesbian relationship with Maddie, which springs up out of nowhere, never gets any development, never gets any closure, and is just about never addressed unless the two decide to make out. Once Walking Disaster finds out about that he isn’t happy about it (no sir, not one bit) and an argument escalates into a car chase (don’t ask) that leads to the four named cheerleaders being run off a cliff and into the water, which kills them all somehow (seriously, not even one of them escaped without a mortal wound? I call shenanigans). This brings us to… drumroll please… all the cheerleaders dying, and the actual focus of the movie. Gothy manages to resurrect all four of the dead cheerleaders (Maddie, Blondie, A-Sis, and B-Sis) with the magical stones she has and does seemingly all of her magic with, from fortune-telling to zombification. The stones sink themselves into the mortal wounds of the cheerleaders (and for some reason, one of the stones attaches itself to Gothy as well), which brings them back from the dead. Though they don’t exactly… come back right. Alpha-Sister and Beta-Sister switch bodies (for some reason), leading to all sorts of wacky shenanigans, like… um, well, not that many shenanigans really. Mostly just that they like the same guy, only one of them is already his girlfriend, but they’re body-switched so… yeah. Blondie becomes outright psychotic and bloodthirsty, kinda out of nowhere. She always seemed perhaps a bit unstable, but after returning from the dead she goes full-ditz and is totally homicidal from the get-go. This is never addressed in any capacity. Maddie is actually fine, but of course she is, she’s the protagonist. The second act, while confusing in how it relates to the first act, is a lot tidier and better put-together. The girls have to go to school, which is obviously made awkward because they’re zombie/vampire things, and made even more awkward by the fact that they’re confronted with the football team (“Dogs,” remember) who are certain that they killed the girls dead. And, naturally, the girls need blood to survive. Special mention to the way they feed should actually be made, as it’s one of the cooler parts. The girls don’t just bite/kill/drink, getting the blood all over themselves and being in dire need of clean-up. The stones inside of them kind of… absorb blood, an entire body’s worth, so not a drop is wasted and it can also be drained out telekinetically in little tendril-thingies. This is both creative and visually satisfying, leaving their victims desiccated corpses. Uuuunfortunately, due to the intro that more than outstayed its welcome, the middle of the flick is far shorter than it could have been. They spend only a single day in school, get up to some mischief, and then the film immediately launches itself into the finale – a few of the Dogs get killed, and then Walking Disaster, naturally, comes to the conclusion that they’re superhuman undead creatures and reacts accordingly, which involves doing really serial-killer-y things like tinkering with piles and piles of bear traps (nobody’s had this guy committed yet?). By this time the relationship between Maddie and Blondie has totally dissolved without mention, like two different scripts were merged. Once Blondie becomes undead she’s only interested in killing people and acting like a nutcase, and when the girls find out that Maddie never really liked any of them to begin with, the finale is kicked off by all of the zombie girls running off in different directions. Walking Disaster (somehow) totally knows how the girls tick, and he captures the two sisters, rips out the stones that keep them alive, and then eats them (!). Seriously, what is with this guy?! Okay, he’s unhinged/violent/crazy but when does one draw the line? Not at devouring glowing, blood-caked, magical jewels to absorb their power? Anyway, the more stones he eats (Blondie goes soon after, captured in a huge pit filled with bear traps (!), so that’s three down) the more power he gains. While this is not really explained or even mused over, we do get a cool voice effect as his voice multiplies itself by as many stones as he’s consumed, giving him a cool “we are Legion” kinda vibe. This is one of my favorite bits actually – despite how randomly awful he is, and despite coming off as a weird teenage version of The Punisher, he’s a pretty imposing villain. But, since the damn intro was so long and since the middle act was desperate to even exist with such a lull in the storyline, the ending is way shorter than it could have been or needed to be. He’s brought down by Gothy and the rest of her magic stones before he has a chance to do much of anything (the three deaths happen in pretty quick succession). So, in addition to a tedious beginning and rushed middle, we also get a rushed ending. After being saved by Gothy, Maddie apparently gives into forbidden longing and Gothy’s unrequited love gets a bit more requited, so the two can now live happily ever after. Of course, there’s also a surprise scare ending that reveals that this is only “Part 1,” so who the hell knows where they’re actually going with this or if Part 2 will ever even be made. So, while there are so many oddly-handled subplots that it’s hard to keep a review properly organized, that was All Cheerleaders Die. The story was rushed and awkward, several plot-points were abandoned partway through, the acting is barely passable, it has almost no nudity, it has long sequences of dead space that could have easily been filled up with more dialogue and action, particularly in the finale, and overall was… kind of disappointing. So, am I being too hard on it, or is it just not that good? I’d say it’s a little of both. From an analytical stand-point it was certainly flawed, but if I had been expecting less of it I think I would have enjoyed it anyway. It’s not without its charm, anyway. Just far from perfect. All Cheerleaders Die (2014)3.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Punk Faye July 3, 2014 Clearly what more zombie/witch high school girl movies need is less zombies and more cannibal but otherwise normal jocks. Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.