'Dying to Be a Cheerleader' Review: Overly dramatic teens and predictable plot make Lifetime thriller a mockery
Although the film is on a topic that deserves to be widely discussed, considering the toxicity that exists in the world of sports, it is plagued by a lot of unnecessary drama
Spoilers for ‘Dying to Be a Cheerleader'
The realm of entertainment has seen enough of cheerleading drama. With ‘Dying to Be a Cheerleader’, Lifetime attempts to shed light on the cut-throat competition that comes with the sport and its impact on the teenagers who are desperate to find themselves a place on the team but gets smacked down by multiple factors that could have been simply avoided.
After the demise of her mother, Darcy (Dominique Booth) comes to live with her wealthy aunt Cassy (Ashlynn Yennie). She looks forward to starting a new life in a new town. With the help of her aunt, she enrolls in a high school hoping to start afresh, leaving behind the memories of a traumatic past. On her first day of school, Darcy learns about the cheerleading squad Amazons.
Lifetime thriller doesn’t take too long to introduce us to Taylor (Kalen Bull), the captain of the Amazons, a typical uppity teenager who lives with the impression that she owns the Amazons and everything concerning the team must receive her approval. She’s the quintessential mean girl who lacks empathy, guilt, remorse and even uses others’ darkest secrets to her advantage. She isn’t bothered by people’s opinions and always counts on her best friend April (Nicolette Langley). However, Taylor is unaware of a few aspects of April but the movie makes it evident to the audience.
And then there's Darcy, who is morally-driven and always ready to take a swing at anyone with questionable values. When Darcy expresses her interest in joining the Amazons, Taylor is naturally miffed and does everything in her power to stop the new girl from taking the center stage, whose talents and skills are too good to go unnoticed. Just when trouble begins to ensue between Darcy and Taylor, one of the team members dies under mysterious circumstances in the gymnasium shower and her death is dubbed as a "shower accident".
Despite a lot of effort and fights put up by Taylor, Darcy gets picked by the cheerleading coach to be the co-captain of the Amazons, which ticks Taylor off more than ever. While Taylor and Darcy continue to engage in a never-ending war, their coach, who is having an affair with the school principal, gets murdered outside a motel after a late-night tryst. Besides two killings, the movie also comprises of unrealistic drone attacks, secret visits to the locker by a mysterious hoodie figure and an endless row of suspects surrounding everything strange that unfolds in the town and within the school premises.
Although ‘Dying to Be a Cheerleader’ is on a topic that deserves to be widely discussed, considering the toxicity that exists in the real world of sports, it could have perhaps done better by avoiding all the unnecessary drama. Besides being predictable, the plot loses its essence by focusing a lot on the raging hormones of teenagers. Maybe it would have been impactful if more attention was drawn towards the real issue in form of drama, rather than going out of its way to incorporate suspense, which clearly didn’t serve the overall story well.
As far as the acting skills are concerned, the cast delivered an average performance. Furthermore, the movie conveniently ignored little details that are pivotal in shaping a suspense drama. ‘Dying to Be a Cheerleader’ is nothing more than a one-time watch if high expectations are kept aside.
'Dying to Be a Cheerleader' premieres on Lifetime at 8 pm ET on October 3.