If you are expecting the new zombie horror film All Cheerleaders Die to be just another horror porny, cheer-splotation flick, then you may need a dose of team spirit. If you ever watched Bring it On and thought, “This film could use more zombies and lesbian witches” then you are welcome to my movie night anytime. Bring the pizza rolls.
The film begins with shy filmmaker Maddy (played by the lovely and understated Caitlin Stasey) making a documentary about the different cliques at her school. During her day of filming with Queen Bee and cheerleading captain Alexis, a tragedy occurs that alters the lives of everyone at school. Let’s just say that the Chekhov’s gun in this movie is a pair of pompoms. A few months later, Maddy surprises everyone by trying out for the cheerleading squad, and making the team. However, Maddy’s real motives for joining the squad and befriending her fellow cheerleaders, soon become clear.
While All Cheerleaders Die has the hallmarks of your standard B horror movie (cheesy special effects, gore, gratuitous nudity) it has one thing that really sets it apart.
This movie is super queer.
No, it’s not specifically a lesbian movie, but three of the leading characters are queer ladies. Here’s where it gets good, and where All Cheerleaders Die kicks a lot of horror tropes right in the face: their queerness does not exist to titillate any of the male characters…or male audience members for that matter. It’s simply part of the story, and drives certain pivotal plot points.
I found it interesting that mainstream media has not really picked up on the queer factor in the movie. It made me wonder if perhaps the film does its job so well that the lady-loving scenes just feel like any other horror romance component, or if mainstream media simply doesn’t know how to address it. Is it easier to leave out any discussion of the matter because it feels different from what we’ve come to expect from horror films? I’d really love it if All Cheerleaders Die could spark conversation about the complex nature of female sexuality, and lesbian love as part of the redemptive storyline.
In addition to boldly going there, All Cheerleaders Die is a lot of fun. The script by Lucky McKee (who also wrote the queer leaning horror film May) and Chris Siverston is smart and witty. The cast is great with stand out performances by the aforementioned Caitlyn Stacey, and Sianoa Smit-McPhee as the powerful, and lovesick Wiccan Leena.