'The Pom Pom Murders' Review: Despite having all potential for good whodunit, LMN thriller fails to deliver
The moment that leads up to the revelation of the actual culprit fails to deliver the shock factor, and at one point it takes a very predictable route as well
Spoilers for ‘The Pom Pom Murders'
If a movie starts with the murder of a character, it is likely to intrigue the viewer’s imagination. ‘The Pom Pom Murders’ also takes this tried and tested route and makes it even more interesting when the narrator, who is shown being shot at the beginning of the movie, announces that she is the protagonist of the movie.
The story then goes back four months back. Our narrator Audrey (Anna Marie Dobbins) is shown hurriedly trying to find her way to the dance auditions for the basketball team LA Renegades’ cheer squad. Once she reaches the audition hall, at the end of a serpentine queue, she strikes up a friendship with Tracy (Lindsay Diann), who is trying her luck for the second time and can go to any extent to make the team – even if it means harming someone. Then we see Grace Patterson’s Bailey walk in with her huge ego and oversized sunglasses. She evades the long line to move ahead before she is interrupted by Tracy. And, playing by the stereotypes of the mean-girl, Bailey informs that she’s already made the team because she was a "Renegades girl" the previous year. However, her bubble bursts when no-nonsense coach Cassie (Tonya Kay) tells her that she also has to audition like the rest. Not one to back down easily, Bailey mocks Cassie by asking if the latter is worried that she’ll take her job. From that moment you get a hunch that things might not go smoothly for Bailey.
During the audition process, our female lead crosses path with the Renegades’ star player and someone who gets a lot of female attention, Walter (Jon Schaefer). Walter also happens to be Bailey’s ex-boyfriend and is shown to be unhappy by the way they parted – they even have a public disagreement during the audition process. Later, Audrey sees the two former lovers having a heated discussion. However, once Bailey storms out, Walter is seen offering a ride to Audrey, which she accepts after initial hesitation. After a bit of flirting on the way, the two exchange numbers and it’s a no-brainer that they two will be together eventually.
While romance is blossoming on one side, Bailey is shown talking to a mysterious visitor at her home, who ultimately chokes her to death. Audrey makes it to the team and so does Tracy – after an initial rejection, she is called back. But once the investigation of Bailey’s murder starts, people don’t appear to be what they are trying to project. The first and obvious suspect is Walter, but our protagonist is certain that he is innocent. She starts to meddle in matters even when she is warned to stay out of them. Through her, we get to see other potential suspects – the creepy janitor Lou (Ryan Gibson), the mysterious team owner Michael McConnell (Joel Berti), his wife Nora (Jhey Castles), who seems to have some sort of panic attacks every time she sees the cheer squad practicing, and coach Cassie who wasn't a fan of Bailey.
Even though this movie checks every box required to make a gripping thriller, it falls flat in execution. The moment that leads up to the revelation of the actual culprit fails to deliver the shock factor, and at one point it takes a very predictable route as well. On the acting front, both Dobbins and Castles deliver what they are expected to. With their limited screen time, Schaefer and Patterson also try their best to do a good job. The film is written by Doug Campbell and Tom Shell, the latter serves as the director as well. Even though the story had the potential of being a good whodunit, the climax is a bit disappointing.
If you can keep your high expectations of a thriller movie aside, this movie is a one-time watch. ‘The Pom Pom Murders’ premieres on LMN on Saturday, October 24, at 8 pm ET.