Friday, November 11, 2016

Detention - rewatch and spoilers

If you're looking for something less spoiler filled, please jump out of here and over to my original review of the film found here: 


I recently re-watched 2011s wild and wacky gem DETENTION Directed by Joseph Kahn and I still love the film to death. I was trying to sort out why and I believe the reason is obvious on my second viewing - it's the movie I would have loved to make. Horror, comedy, strange goings on, trippy meta plot twists. It's the Malcolm movie that was never made.

Kahn and Mark Palermo wrote the film and I bet they had a blast doing so. Packing comedy, horror, science fiction, and so many references to books, music, and decades of style and fashion into one film makes this a kinetic and ultra-fast paced wonderland of...stuff. However, maybe that's what turns people away from it?

Let the spoiling begin!

I love how the film starts out with a basic concept that we've seen time and time again - most recently in films like MOST LIKELY TO DIE. A strange looking killer dressed in ((insert kitschy costume here)) starts killing off people in interesting ways. We've seen it. Over and over. However even that execution is unique in Detention. Sweet camera moves, zippy writing, and interesting graphics whip through the movie scape like mad. The roller coaster ride concludes with an ultra-violent attack and a big finish that catapults us up and out to meet our main character, then zooming along to the credit sequence - a thing of beauty that makes me so happy. :)

The IMDB blurb for the film is incredibly boring and does NOT do justice to the plot:
As a copycat killer named after movie villain Cinderhella stalks the student body at Grizzly Lake High School, a group of co-eds band together to survive while serving detention.

Sure, that's in the film, but it leaves out UFO sightings, human test subjects, body and mind swapping, time travel, and more. I said in my original review for the film that this was a film for "smart people", but I didn't mean it in a swarmy or pretentious way. Not at all.

I was merely saying that there are folks who want the film described by IMDB. They want people to be shoved into a situation and killed off in creative ways as they watch on, eat their popcorn, and cheer on the violence. And, those films have their place for sure. People love them - that's why we have...what? 47 SAW films right now? They even stopped trying to craft a story with them now. They just drop people into a space and start strapping iron masks and four power strips worth of gadgets onto them before slipping them into something that compresses them after shooting fire into their butts....or whatever.

Detention has some of this basic, killer on the loose for sure. There are some comical killings in here that are really...out there. But, the addition of all the other elements makes this - again - more along the lines of REPO MAN from back in the day. A film cherished and viewed over...and over...and over again by my friends and I. Strangeness pours from Repo Man like water from a fountain and Detention has the same, wondrous sense of play and fun.

Time machine? Sure!
Mind swapping through time to win a talent show? YES!

The film presents a playground for the viewer to wander through. A place where anything can and will happen. I loved that.

The actors make the witty writing and shotgun deliveries work.

Shanley Caswell is gold, working the misunderstood, angry Riley lead role wonderfully as she clumps through her life on her bum leg - at odds with everyone and everything. She went on to be in the Conjuring in 2013.

Josh Hutcherson's cool, beloved Clapton Davis character only works because he seems to be that guy. The cool, good looking guy that everyone knows and likes. It seems his acting and good looks paid off - I see he's in all three of the HUNGER GAMES movies.

And Dane Cook is a fantastic "secret sauce" as he manages to rope it back a bit as the school Principal tossing angry, fruck my life quips at students here and there until the films titular detention wrap up.

Every character in the film - from the strange, outspoken Canadian GORD to the "Hipster Thief" - rocks their screen time no matter how long or short it is.

And lastly, the fucking style of the film makes me insanely jealous of the filmmaker's craft. It's just amazing. The cuts and camera angles are grand. The overall pace keeps rolling and rolling along and we only pause long enough for the occasional title card introducing another bizarre aspect of the story and it's characters.

Big props to Christopher Probst, the director of photography, as well. Fantastic work!

I was surprised to TOTALLY makes sense, but....Joseph Kahn Directed the Taylor Swift BAD BLOOD video! HA!

It looks like he has another film due out in 2017 as well. A film called BODIED that IMDB has down as:  a progressive graduate student finds success and sparks outrage when his interest in battle rap as a thesis subject becomes a competitive obsession.


The reviews for this make me sad, really. It's METACRITIC score is a mere 45 and IMDB has it at 5.8 out of 10. I'd easily give this a 9 out of 10 stars. No question.

Did you like HEATHERS,  REPO MAN, DEAD ALIVE (BRAINDEAD), TUCKER AND DALE v EVIL,  or JOHN DIES AT THE END? Then you need to track down DETENTION at once. It's currently on SHUDDER (US) and is also available on Amazon for streaming as well.

Seen it? Loved it? Hated it? Let me know! 

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