It’s boys vs. girls with ghosts, a masked killer, zombies and…humor? Sort of.
GHOSTLAND BOYS (2016)
A majority of Ghostland Boys feels like it would have worked better edited into short segments of a “web series”…if the writing had been punched up a bit. The checklist of cliché quirky comedy techniques—the music, character narration, buddy movie setup, strung together situations that feel like skits—aren’t enough to make it what it wants to be. It is just way too slow paced and dry.
The plot is about two friends who become bogus ghost hunters to make money so they can fix their car to take a road trip.
A majority of the film has them getting into predicaments that could be funnier than they are: a guy who thinks he hired the boys for a massage; rock band members that want to sell their souls to the devil for a hit record (okay this part is funny); a guy who wants the boys to exterminate a werewolf (a scene of one of them repeatedly stabbing the neighbor’s dog is just not funny in my world).
I mean, essentially the ghost hunters never once take on ghosts.
But they do take on zombies. That’s right. The film’s final act has them encountering a zombie apocalypse! It is one of the most tame zomcoms EVER with an astoundingly anticlimactic ending!
Honestly, the few funny parts of this film work in part because they are given to the adorable buddy, who is clearly meant to do comedy and could have carried this film if he’d been given more funny material.
TRAGEDY GIRLS (2017)
The director of Patchwork brings us Mean Girls done slasher style…and mostly void of the laughs.
Two high school girls trying to become social media sensations abduct a masked killer and then start doing the killing themselves, hyping videos of the death scenes online to prove there’s a psycho on the loose in their town.
Tragedy Girls is full of snarky, bitchy teen angst, the kills are clever and gory, and there are plenty of references dropped to other horror movies, so it’s most definitely an entertaining flick.
The downside is that it simply lacks the dark humor you’d expect from it, especially if you compare it to the tone of the director’s other horror comedy.
Also, the attempts to set up suspenseful slasher scenarios before kills doesn’t work just as it never does when the killers are the protagonists and the victims are simply dropped in to drop dead. And the main girls are so mean girl that we never grow to like them despite their flaws as serial killers. This is the same exact personal stumbling block I have with movies like Better Watch Out. I simply can’t “side” with a killer who is just a total piece of shit with completely selfish reasons for killing the likable characters in the film.
Not to mention, there’s a great prom setup at the end that includes the return of the masked killer the girls abducted, but he barely gets to do any damage! Personally, rather than getting right to the way things play out, I would have enjoyed, perhaps, a twist in the plot seeing the girls inadvertently saving all the kids they planned to kill at the prom simply to stop the masked killer from doing it before they can.
Of course, I can’t come to the end of the blog about this film without mentioning one of the highlights: adorable daddy bear Keith Hudson, who has been popping up in films and TV shows since his first appearance in the horror flick The Night Brings Charlie in 1990 as Biker #1, but has a ridiculously limited number of horror movies under his belt. It’s about time some indie horror directors change that and give him some starring roles.