FANTASTIC FEST: “Besties” murder thriller is unoriginal, lacks shock factor


The two “besties” share a special relationship–and a secret.

Life & Arts Editor

Rebecca Perry Cutter wrote and directed “Besties,” which stars Olivia Croicchia as Sandy and Madison Riley as Ashley. 

“Besties” is about as predictable as it gets. Meant to be a coming-of-age story told in a new way, “Besties” was formulaic and unoriginal. The characters were clichéd and the plot has been seen before.

Sandy is a loser freshman and Ashley is a popular senior. Sandy is brunette and pubescent while Ashley is blonde, voluptuous and perpetually lip-glossed.

Sandy asks Ashley to babysit her while her dad goes out of town. Ashley has a party and it ends with somebody’s head being smashed with a frying pan.

The rest of the movie follows the two girls dealing with the aftermath of the trauma.

To safeguard her future fashion career, Ashley manipulates Sandy into keeping her lips sealed, and Sandy falls for it because she is desperate for approval. Cue misplaced sexual tension.

The film was written by Cutter and was her feature directorial debut. It showed.

During a Q and A session after the screening, Cutter admitted that they rehearsed for three days and the entire production only took 21 days.

According to Cutter, she was going for the realism approach.

“I wanted to tell the story in the most honest way possible,” Cutter said. She aimed to explore the “idea of the girl crush” and a mix of “weird teenage hormones.”

What was meant to be raw and realistic translated as awkward and cheap, reminiscent of so many straight-to-DVDs and Lifetime movies.

The audience could be heard laughing outside the theater; however, this movie was not meant to be a comedy.

“Besties” falls short on the thriller scale, especially considering it premiered during the largest genre film festival in the country—one of those genres being horror.

There was a general suspenseful feel, but nothing jumpy or terrifying. Even the most frightened of horror movie novices could keep their hands at their sides instead of over their eyes.

For example, the frying pan scene, where one would expect crushed skulls and projectile bleeding, was surprisingly tame.

This movie lacked shock factor in every area.

Despite all of the flaws, “Besties” had a warm quality to it. Whether you were the Sandy or the Ashley of your high school, you could identify with these characters that are just in way over their heads. Viewers may find themselves feeling for the two girls and hoping, after it’s over, that their lives turn out all right.