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RIOT GIRLS: 3 ½ STARS. “‘Lord of the Flies’ with letterman-jackets.”

Set against a teenage wasteland where adults have been killed off by a mysterious disease, “Riot Girls” is a throwback to grindhouse genre films but with a new and improved attitude.

It’s 1995 and in the aftermath of a deadly plague the film sees the mohawked Scratch (Paloma Kwiatkowski), girlfriend Nat (Madison Iseman) and their small band of “Eastsiders” brave a post-apocalyptic world, divided by geography and ideology from the bloodthirsty Westside Titans.

When Nat’s brother Jack (Alexandre Bourgeois) is kidnapped by the jocks from the other side of town, led by the psychotic Jeremy (Munro Chambers), the Eastsiders, with the help of Sony (Ajay Friese) who knows his way around the westside, go to war.

Although set in a dystopian world “Riot Girls” is a more universal (although bloody) story of high school rivalry between freaks and the bullies. The stakes are higher and the story heightened, but this is an age-old story with a new twist. It’s “Lord of the Flies” with letterman-jackets but, more importantly, it also places its focus and power on the female characters. With a behind-the-scenes team lead by director Jovanka Vuckovic and writer Katherine Collins, “Riot Girls” is a rarity. It’s a genre film, set to a throbbing punk and metal soundtrack, that delivers with the culty-thrills you hope for while also throwing typical gender roles out the window.

“Riot Girls” is a propulsive story of survival that feels, simultaneously, like a throwback to the drive-in and completely fresh.

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