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Seemingly smug at first, ‘Tragedy Girls’ ends up effective horror

Brianna Hildebrand (left) and Alexandra Shipp in "Tragedy Girls." | GUNPOWDER & SKY

Confession.

At first I was put off by the performances by Brianna Hildebrand and Alexandra Shipp in “Tragedy Girls.”

Too smug. Too much winking-at-the-audience. Too much transparent acting.

It was as if they’d seen “Heathers” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Scream” and “Scary Movie” and a dozen other self-referential hipster-slasher-clever films, and they were “owning it” and not acting it.

My mistake.

As director/co-writer Tyler Macintyre’s brutally effective and razor-sharp slasher/satire “Tragedy Girls” tells its tale, the performances by Hildebrand and Shipp become increasingly empathetic and surprising.

The

Perhaps the biggest reveal in “Tragedy Girls” is the discovery of two star-potential actresses in a film from a seriously talented filmmaker.

In the meantime, I don’t want to oversell a near-great B-movie that is nonetheless a B-movie.

Suffice to say “Tragedy Girls” has great fun with myriad horror movie tropes.

★★★1⁄2 

Gunpowder & Sky presents a film directed by Tyler Macintyre and written by Macintyre and Chris Lee Hill. Rated R (for strong bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references). Running time: 90 minutes. Opens Friday at Regal City North and on demand.