All Cheerleaders Die (NR)
Horror 89 June 13th, 2014
Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson's teen horror romp benefits from the same campy, over-the-top occult element previously perfected in the films of Sam Raimi and many a Buffy the Vampire Slayer B-plot. While the wit and production value is nowhere near those masterworks', there's still lots to relish here. A quartet of Mean Girls-esque zombies rise from the dead, courtesy of a heavily eyelinered necromancer and a bag of magic gemstones. Hell-bent on taking bloody vengeance on the football players responsible for their deaths, the teens return to their high school in two-feet-too-short-for-the-Vatican skirts and black leather bustiers (apparently the cheerleading uniform at this wildly lax district).
The absurd circumstances yield an array of genre pleasures: spell-casting in class, pep rallies in the graveyard, a reverse-Twilight romance-in-the-forest vignette with a violent outcome, and the line "No more feeding at school!" Credit can be given to the movie's latent surprises, its many moments that at first seem impossibly dumb before they progress into something unexpected if not clever. Various lesbian make-out sessions that you might initially write off as randy preteen boy-bait develop into emotionally fraught relationships by the third act. The cliffhanger ending and teaser to a prospective "Part 2" might be jumping the gun, but we wouldn't mind a sequel.