An audacious second act twist rescues this frenetic high-school horredy from predictability, ensuring that while All Cheerleaders Die is far from perfect, it has a few sly surprises up its sleeves.
Directed by Lucky McKee (of excellent FrightFest 2011 flick The Woman ) and Chris Sivertson (the considerably less excellent I Know Who Killed Me ) and based on the duo's 2001 short, it starts out routinely enough as Maddy (Caitlin Stasey) signs up for the high school cheerleading squad in order to teach the heartless pom-pom-pushers a lesson or two.
Things get ugly, though, when Maddy falls for one of her fellow cheerleaders, irking both her witch-y ex-girlfriend Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee) and football player Terry (Tom Williamson).
A brutal confrontation and a car crash later, and Maddy's quest for vengeance is directed away from the cheerleaders...
The film's tired found-footage opening gambit inspires little hope that All Cheerleaders Die will offer anything new, so it's a welcome surprise when its plot takes an unexpected swerve into paganism, blood-sucking and body-swapping.
The ensuing battle of the sexes (this really should be called Jocks Vs Cheerleaders ) results in an enjoyably off-beat tone and some fun, grisly set-pieces.
It's also refreshing to see a horror film that puts its female players first, bestowing them with strong characterisation and the odd cracking one-liner. (Even if it does somewhat undermine itself with psychic orgasms and bare midriffs.)
Sadly, things come unstuck in the film's sloppy final act. As the carnage mounts, McKee and Sivertson struggle to bring their bombastic cauldron of crazy ideas to a boil.
What should have been a bombastic climax feels frustratingly limp. Worse still, the final scene threatens a sequel, despite the fact that All Cheerleaders Die has long since run out of ideas.
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