While it might sound strange to say, slasher movies were, at their core, very conservative horror movies. Yes, Christian fundamentalists and other moralists may have been up in arms about the violence. But the basic tropes of masked killers ‘punishing’ young adults flaunting moral conventions by drinking, doing drugs, and engaging in pre-marital sex felt like an 80s backlash against the free-spiritedness of the previous of the 60s and 70s. Neo-slashers following on Scream just mimicked the tropes without any of Wes Craven’s commentary. More recently, horror movies like Bodies Bodies Bodies and The Blackening have tried to find ways to use the slasher format to tell new stories. Now indie filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay fuses the slasher and queer horror for the unlike Bad Girl Boogey.
Years ago, a group of teens looking to conjure up demons fall prey to a parasitic mask that channels the hate of its host into a murderous rampage. Time’s passed but the mask makes its way to new hosts. For queer teen Angel, she first loses her older sister to someone wearing the same mask. And now someone else has found the mask and begins targeting members of the small town’s queer community. When the police show little interest in protecting them, Angel and her friends must discover the killer’s identity and stop them before it’s too late.
Bad Girl Boogey a Rough-Around-The-Edges, DIY Slasher
Aussie writer and director Alice Maio Mackay is only 18 years old. And Bad Girl Boogey represents the filmmaker’s third feature length directorial effort. Her debut effort, So Vam, currently resides on Shudder. What Mackay delivers with Bad Girl Boogey definitely feels like an old school slasher from its aesthetics to plotting. Not one, but two, opening prologues, kicks things off with one feeling more connected to the main story than the other. Like old school slashers, Mackay delivers some lean, brutal death scenes that make good use of practical gore effects. In particular, the kill in the second prologue teases a direction not unlike the stomach-churning carnage that defined Terrifier and Terrifier 2. But the remainder of Bad Girl Boogey tones things down just bit from the opening acts.
Like old school slashers, Mackay delivers some lean, brutal death scenes that make good use of practical gore effects.
Though there’s plenty of potential characterizing Bad Girl Boogey, the listed $13, 000 micro-budget clearly limits Mackay. This is definitely a rough-around-the-edges DIY slasher movie that can’t always outstretch its budget. Most of the limitations reside in production issues Mackay can’t just work around. Both the editing and stunt work look rough and, as a result, the death and more action-oriented moments feel more one-dimensional. In addition, the sound design is limited with dialogue scenes often being difficult to hear against background musical score. But Mackay compensates for these issues with decent pacing and an 80s slasher atmosphere.
Bad Girl Boogey Finds Contemporary Social Meaning Amidst Its Slasher Formula
Maybe Bag Girl Boogey suffers from production limitations. Yet there’s no denying that Mackay and co-writer Benjamin Pahl Robinson find important meaning in their subject matter. Regardless of whether you’re actively on social media, most people should be aware of rising patterns of hate and transphobia directed at the 2SLGTBQIA+ community. In their mix of supernatural horror, crime drama, and slasher, Mackay and Robinson cleverly subvert slasher tropes by using the formula to examine the dangers of allowing hatred to go unchecked.
In their mix of supernatural horror, crime drama, and slasher, Mackay and Robinson cleverly subvert slasher tropes by using the formula to examine the dangers of allowing hatred to go unchecked
Consistent with the movie’s messaging, Bad Girl Boogey boasts some of the more honest casting you’ll find in movies today. Much of the cast is comprised of queer performers, which further humanizes the characters on screen. Lisa Fanto – who’s previously worked with Mackay on her most recent movie, T Blockers – handles duties of lead protagonist, Angel, quite well. She channels the character’s frustration and building anger in a way that should make her immediately identifiable to many viewers. Arguably, the only major complaint about the casting and plotting is that the killer’s identity never feels like a surprise. Similar to 80s slashers, Bad Girl Boogey throws out a couple of red herrings that never really swerve expectations.
Bad Girl Boogey Shows Lots of Potential While Mostly Overcoming Its Limitations
While its slasher bits are often gruesome and shocking, Bad Girl Boogey remains a difficult movie to recommend to wider horror audiences. This stems in large part from the slasher’s DIY approach and minuscule budget. Mackay does a lot with very little, but this is still a rough-around-the-edges effort that a suffers from patchy editing, poor sound design, and stilted action. Yet it’s also an important little horror movie that features good performances, honest casting, and a storyline that casts a harsh mirror on real world hate and bigotry. Ultimately, Bad Girl Boogey excels in how Mackay subverts what was originally a very conservatively minded subgenre into a sharply progressive supernatural thriller.