Select Page

Movie Review: “Bad Girl Boogey” is Exactly How It Sounds

Sunday, July 16, 2023 | Reviews


At just 18 years old, noted low-budget filmmaker Alice Maio Mackay has already released two features and announced two more. At just 16 years old, the trans South Australian filmmaker’s first film, So Vam, landed her a Shudder exclusive deal and a shiny spread in Fangoria. After making such a splash, the pressure was on to follow up the hype with something equally buzzy and promising. Enter Mackay’s second contribution to queer horror cinema, BAD GIRL BOOGEY.

The film, taking obvious style notes from Rob Zombie and The Purge movies, and making allusions to Gregg Araki, Dario Argento, and Lucio Fulci, (because, why not?) follows a group of queer punks in the southlands of Australia who are being stalked and picked off by a cursed, masked, homophobic entity. Unfortunately, that sentence essentially sums up the entire movie. Beyond that, the film suffers from a disappointing lack of character development, suspense, or momentum. Aside from an interestingly edited (if not Tik-Tokable) dream sequence (that repeats at least two more times throughout the film), Mackay offers little to maintain her audience’s attention.

The film thrusts viewers into a friend group under the immediate assumption we should care about them. The cast includes Lisa Fanto (‘Love, Guns & Level Ups’), Iris Mcerlean, Chris Asimos, Toshiro Glenn, Lewi Dawson, Kate Bonney with a confusing and frankly, forced, voiceover cameo from horror icon Bill Mosley (‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’, ‘The Devil’s Rejects’). However, each character’s dialogue is so cyclical, and their murders so quick and unceremonious, they come off as secondary to Mackay’s ham-fisted, anti-bigot message. Throughout the course of the film, these struggling queer youth characters are as forgettably-written as their character names and upstaged by a seriously distracting amount of cigarettes being smoked. Rather than providing audiences with rounded, interesting people, we’re given characters who serve the sole two purposes of being queer and getting murdered, and that’s it. The occasional bit of witty dialogue or interesting cinematography is completely overshadowed by the film’s inability to commit to moving in any one direction and its use of gritty Instagram filters.

As with So Vam, the film’s lack of suspense or any sense of nuance leaves audiences feeling like the choir that’s just been preached at for an hour and twenty minutes. In So Vam, a lead character recites a Wikipedia-esque queer thesis on Bram Stoker’s Dracula to the audience. In Bad Girl Boogie, we’re handed an obvious killer, a predictable ending, and an eye-rolling emphasis on the difference between the pronouns “him” and “it” when referring to the murderer.

While there’s probably something I should say about how important it is for queer filmmakers to make queer films about queer trauma for queer audiences, as a queer audience-member myself, I want better than this. This is not to discourage Mackay, or other young, queer filmmakers, from creating art and expressing their points of view. Use your voice. Be angry. Make punk rock, anti-establishment movies. Maybe just give them another draft or two before committing them to film.


Ricky J. Duarte
Ricky is a writer, actor, singer, and the host of the "Rick or Treat Horrorcast" podcast. He lives in a super haunted apartment above a cemetery in New York City with his evil cat, Renfield, and the ghosts of reasons he moved to NYC in the first place., @RickOrTreatPod