July 29, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Detention'

Detention (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

The accompanying blurb on the press release for director Joseph Kahn’s Detention, describes the movie as a comedy-horror hybrid. Well, that’s kind of like calling the Pacific Ocean a puddle; it doesn’t do it justice at all. I will admit to thinking that I was getting a fairly straightforward horror/comedy, but boy was I wrong. Detention is a mish-mash of many different genres, and sub-genres, and you could play a cracking drinking game by spotting the in-movie references and nods.

Sounds like a big schlocky mess doesn’t it? You would think so, but to these eyes it did in actual fact work surprisingly well. I will preface this by saying that the horror element is really secondary to everything else going on. In fact there were times during the movie that I forgot that there was even a horror element; and then a severed limb would fly across the screen.

To condense the plot down into a reasonably short amount of space, and still not spoil the movie, isn’t the simplest thing, but here we go. The kids of Grizzly High are getting ready for the end of year, and the Prom that comes along with it. They are also awaiting the cinematic release of the latest slasher flick, Cinderhella 2. The shit hits the though when bodies start to turn, with Cinderhella being the main suspect. The whole shebang ends up with a group of kids ending up in Detention, thanks to Principle Verge (Dane Cook), trying to get to the bottom of everything.

To go into too much detail about the film would really be a disservice to Detention, and would spoil the many cool elements contained within. If, however, you took a chunk out of The Breakfast Club, Scream, Freaky Friday, Back to the Future, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Carrie AND threw in a relative of Brundlefly (look it up), you might get the gist of what kind of movie Detention is. There’s also reference to it being a “hipster’ movie, which means fuck all to me, aside from sounding like a dodgy pair of jeans. Yes, I am aware of these so-called hipsters that lurk amongst us, but I have no idea what a hipster film is supposed to look like. So, to hell with daft labels, just take the film for what it is.

The cast are all pretty damned good, with Dane Cook being his usual funny self, in an over the top manner. This isn’t the Dane Cook from Employee of the Month (which itself was quite funny), it’s a darker character and he plays it bloody well. The kids, that make up the majority of the cast, all slip into their character well too, with my particular favorite being the juiced up football player with a vomit problem (remember the Brundlefly reference?).

For those that are interested, the Cinderhella character is pretty cool; just imagine Jigsaw with a heavy shot of estrogen and a more hands-on approach to murder. All in all a pretty cool killer, even if she does take a back seat to the rest of the on screen mayhem. There plenty of film within film elements going on here as well, aside from the obvious, and even for a movie with a plot as ridiculous as this one, it never gets complicated.

Director Joseph Kahn’s previous work mainly includes pop promo’s, although he did make Torque (of which I have no interest in seeing), and this appears to be his first foray in real genre cinema, so if he can come up with material like this in the future consider me in line to see it.

Sure, Detention is batshit crazy and it’s liable to rub some viewers up the wrong way, but not me. I liked what Kahn has come up with (he also co-wrote it) and I definitely like his execution of the material. So, on that note, I am off to make a snuff porno with lady Gaga!

Detention is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on July 31st from Sony.

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