Screenwriter Alex Garland has penned some excellent works of modern fantasy cinema, including 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd, and stays firmly in the science fiction realm with his directorial debut. Here, he explores the consequences of truly successful artificial intelligence not with bombastic, apocalyptic effects or high-minded science but, ostensibly, through the prism of human emotion. His futuristic vision is no less ominous for its relatively low-key approach but, disappointingly, falls back on genre cliches and a tired depiction of gender relations.
Gender politics has always been at the beating heart of horror. While it could be argued that cinema as a whole is preoccupied with the white male experience, no other genre gouges such an indelible gender divide. Scary movies usually embrace the tired tropes of man as predator, woman as victim, or make a point of subverting or satirising them. The problem with All Cheerleaders Die is that it has an uneasy foot in both camps.
A decade after Robert Rodriguez teamed up with graphic novelist Frank Miller to bring Miller’s celebrated Sin City to jaw-dropping life, their follow-up navigates the same schlocky, sweaty, super-stylised path of bloody crime and bloodier retribution.