By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

The final night of the Austin Film Festival fell on October 31 this year. Appropriately, the programmers of AFF chose to screen a horror film for their closing night movie.  Mixing comedy, horror, and some action, All Cheerleaders Die does deliver some laughs and thrills, but problems with the various tones, inconsistent writing and irritating acting choices keep this film from being the masterpiece it aspires to be.

After a major tragedy takes place at Blackfoot High, the rebellious Maddy Killian (Caitlin Stasey) decides to join the cheerleading squad and take them down from within. Maddy does have a profound impact on the squad, but not in the way she intends. Her plans fail horribly, and supernatural forces intervene, taking her and her squad down a dark path of death and carnage.

Written and directed by Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson, All Cheerleaders Die seems inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural, but definitely lacks the sharp writing and solid performances which make these cult shows great. McKee and Sivertson have some trouble juggling the comedy, horror and drama. As a comedic piece, the movie has its moments of laugh-out-loud humor, but then some jokes fall so flat that one can almost hear the thudding sound when they land. The horror lacks the necessary impact needed to make audiences jump or cower in their seats. The action in the film does thrill at times, but often lacks punch. The cast has some talent (Caitlin Stasey, Brooke Butler, Amanda Grace Cooper), but it also has some actors that over act with grating effects. I’m not sure if or when this film will be released in theaters, but I recommend waiting to rent this one.

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