After the death of her friend in a freak cheer-leading accident, Maddy Killian (Caitlin Stasey) decides that she is going to bring down her ex-boyfriend. Terry Stankus (Tom Williamson) is the head of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school but Maddy has a justified grudge against him. But during all of this, a strange supernatural force orchestrated by Maddy’s jealous ex-girlfriend Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) takes shape and eventually has a devastating effect on everyone involved.
The all-American high school trope is a self-sustaining commodity in horror movies. With hundreds of genre classics in the bag already, All Cheerleaders Die tries to bring with it a clever, fresh idea. It starts off very promisingly, with an astutely-observed establishing chapter that introduces us to characters and situations that genuinely peak our interest. It then loses momentum quickly and ends on a predictable whimper. And it’s hard to shake off the fact that this feels like a very poor imitation of Jennifer’s Body, the grossly underrated horror/black comedy starring Megan Fox from 2009.
Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson shoot the movie well and frequently conjure up some memorable set pieces. The handy-cam footage is effective for the most part, especially at the start of the film when we first get introduced to the cheerleaders. There are atmospheric settings, especially the car chase and the party in the woods. The dialogue is frequently funny too but it never takes the initiative to try and do something more. Ultimately, this all ends exactly as you expect it will.
The cast are all fine with Sianoa Smit-McPhee and Caitlin Stasey the particular high-points. Their love angle is also played out well. Reanin Johannink and Amanda Grace Cooper have fun with a clever sisterly body-swap storyline midway through the film whilst Tom Williamson plays a calculated bad guy with suitable aplomb (even though his character is riddled with cliché).
All Cheerleaders Die has a great concept but after a bright start, it slowly falters and stalls into convention. If you want to see this idea done right, just watch the Diablo Cody-penned Jennifer’s Body instead. It does everything better and is a lot more enjoyable.