Set in and around a small town high school in Kansas, Beth is a naive senior student who asks her two new friends, the slick and outgoing Julie, and her boyfriend Scott to help her cover up... See full summary »
Set in and around a small town high school in Kansas, Beth is a naive senior student who asks her two new friends, the slick and outgoing Julie, and her boyfriend Scott to help her cover up the accidental killing of the hated school principal. But they are observed by Terra, a student nominated for prom queen, who blackmails them into rigging the election in her favor. Undaunted, Beth, Julie and Scott turn to the most popular/hated student Cherry to kill Terra for them. Cherry agrees to the hit, but only if she gets Terra's nomination for prom queen and the crown as well which sets off more complications for all involved. Written by
What a marvelous little film. California has nothing on Kansas!
I saw this film at the AFM after seeing the trailer -- which by the way was an equally marvelous piece of work. Most everything works in Pep Squad -- music, cinematography, editing, acting, story. Sure, there are some wooden performances. That comes with low budget indie fare. But it never detracts from the overall flow. In fact, when I think back to my viewings of Carnival of Souls (which I think is another Kansas product) and other films considered cultish, Pep Squad holds up very well, indeed.
Special mention needs to be made of three elements. Brooke Balderson as Cherry is amazing. She not only made what could have been a single dimensional comic book character seem real and multi-dimensional, but she even created a wierd form of sympathy for the character. Betty O., playing the part of the principal who replaces Lester the Molester (yes, this is a strange story) adds just the right amount of zest to the overall mix of characters and story. Finally, the score, by Concrete Blonde frontwoman Johnette Napolitano, was perfect. I saw the film in a theater with full stereo sound and the impact of the music with the imagery was fantastic. I imagine that a lesser sound system would certainly detract from the overall experience. (In fact, I recently saw a screener video of the film and, though good, the TV speakers were really inadequate.)
If you're a Concrete Blonde fan, if you're between 16 and 28, if you ever were in high school and felt like killing the principal (figuratively if not literally), if you are/were ever tired of having to mindlessly just accept what those in power impose --- then you'll have much fun with Pep Squad.
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