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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
If you like B movies, "Pep Squad" is a B Movie in the best sense of the word. Why it went straight to video is beyond me. It's mix of humour and artistry makes it stand out as the "El Mariachi" of teen flicks.
First time director Steve Balderson has fashioned not only an exceedingly witty script (Fave moment in a film full of fave moments: The cheer Cherry pays the cheerleaders to do), but has an eye for what Brian DePalma called "film as a visual medium". Take the costumes, each character given a very specfic look and tone through wardrobe, take the finale- a breathtakingly clever denoument set to a new wave version of the star spangled banner. Balderson also knows what B fans come to see and has seen fit to throw in the occasional bit of shock violence and gratuitous nudity (though even that is shot with a fair degree of look and purpose).
Special mention must be made of the director's sister, Brooke Balderson who, in the time warped town the film takes place in, is the most warped of all- a teenage Cruella DeVille. She's perfect- snarly, mean and way over the top. Then there's Jane Wiedlin look alike Summer Makovkin...well let's just say she's appealing on a purely personal level.
"Pep Squad" is what would happen if David Lynch, in full "Twin Peaks" mode, decided to make a John Hughes film. I can say nothing more than run out and rent it and let's get this film the cult following it so richly deserves.
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