A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All Cheerleaders Die is a horror-comedy involving cheerleaders, football players, and zombies. Some have called it a satire, but that's up for debate. For a so-called comedy, the violence can be brutal and includes football players punching cheerleaders in the face, beating them up, and a suggestion of rape. There's also a good deal of killing, blood, and gore. A topless teen girl has sex with a teen boy. Two teen girls kiss and have (off screen) sex, and there's plenty of sexual innuendo and sexy situations. Language is very strong, with frequent use of "bitch," plus "f--k," "s--t," and "p---y." One teen is a pot dealer and smokes pot with other teens, both onscreen and off. Teens also drink beer and other alcohol. Teen horror hounds will no doubt be drawn to the movie with its promise of humor, gore, and sexy cheerleaders, but it's extremely iffy both in terms of quality and messages.
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What's the story?
When cheerleader Alexis (Felisha Cooper) dies during practice, her football player boyfriend, Terry (Tom Williamson), quickly moves on to another girl in the squad, Tracy (Brooke Butler). Outcast Maddy (Caitlin Stasey) was one of Alexis' childhood friends and, horrified by these events, decides to join the cheerleading squad and get revenge. She begins seducing Tracy and driving a wedge between the new lovers. Things are going according to plan when an argument at a party leads to a terrible accident. A Wiccan girl, Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee), who loves Maddy, uses a spell to give things a bizarre new supernatural twist. Will things ever be normal again?
Is it any good?
Director Lucky McKee made an auspicious horror debut with 2002's wonderful May, but he's tumbled a long way down with All Cheerleaders Die. This movie is based on McKee's early short film and is co-directed by Chris Sivertson. Some have seen this movie as a sly satire on the lowly roles of women in horror films, but at the same time, it's actually a horror movie about women occupying those same roles.
The movie makes a cursory attempt at some character arcs for its five cheerleaders, but they don't go very far. Occasionally, some awful male characters die at the women's hands, but the women never stop getting the short end of the stick. Equally disturbingly, the lead male character is totally evil, treating women violently and with contempt. On top of it all, the movie looks and sounds junky and muddled, the visual effects are below par, and the jokes land with a thud.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about All Cheerleaders Die's violence. Is it supposed to be thrilling, brutal, or both? What's the difference? What's the dividing line?
What does the movie have to say about violence against women? Do the women get their revenge? Does it help?
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