The horror/comedy All Cheerleaders Die hit VOD this week and it is most certainly something different. The film hit all the right notes for me and Nerdist had the opportunity to interview writing/directing duo Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson about bringing this group of cheerleaders to life (and killing them), making a genre-bending movie, and future plans for the All Cheerleaders Die universe.
All Cheerleaders Die is not an easy movie to describe. It walks the line of a horror/comedy and manages to squeeze in a few heartfelt moments before the end credits roll. McKee called it a “punk rock Twilight” and Sivertson agrees that the movie is anything but typical. “We wanted to make something that kept shifting gears. A lot of times when a movie starts, you get what it is right away and it stays that way for the whole time… and there may be some twists and turns but once it sets its tone, it stays in that. And so what we were interested in doing was playing around with tone shifts to keep people off guard. Have some dark material happen that makes the funnier stuff more funny and, you know, hopefully the funnier stuff makes the dark stuff darker by contrast. That was definitely something we talked about from the beginning, keeping the audience on their toes by not letting the movie just settle into one thing but have it keep surprising people.”
Setting a horror film in a high school usually presents a challenge but exploring the dynamics between the teenage guys and gals excited the team behind the film. McKee explained, “Especially in the high school arena, I think there [are] so many horror films flying around that lines get drawn and just we just found that aspect really interesting… Nowadays there’s so much in the media and people being more comfortable with their sexuality and people just kind of stirring that up into a pot and [we were] just trying to stay true and genuine to representing what different kinds of people there are out there now.” Sivertson continued, saying, “I think the only agenda was to make them seem real, especially when you’re dealing with cheerleaders, there’s already so many stereotypes… so we kind of wanted to play with that a little bit and actually show that these girls are real people. There’s real emotions and real feelings to them than you see on the surface. Maddy [the main character], that’s kind of what she comes to realize. She’s the audience eyes in that, she has a very set view of cheerleaders in the beginning and then it evolves when she realizes that she shouldn’t be so quick to pigeonhole people.”
As we discussed with star Sianoa Smit-McPhee, there’s definitely more story that remains to be told after the credits roll on this film. Do McKee and Sivertson have something in mind for future installments in a potential series? Said McKee, “We wrote this thing as an introduction to the world and the characters. There’s a big reason why we don’t explain everything… This feels to us, as we were making it, like Act One of a larger story and Act One is always tricky because you’ve got to set everything up, you’ve got to introduce the world. But we have a very, very clear idea of the next segment and we’re hoping we get a chance to do that very soon.” Sivertson added, “It would be a lot of fun if we had all that set up out of the way now and now we can really go crazy with magic and other crazy action.”
All Cheerleaders Die, written and directed by Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson and starring Caitlin Stasey, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Brooke Butler, and Tom Williamson, is available on VOD now.