Detention of the Dead

Detention of the Dead

PLOT:

Comedy and Horror unite in this “The Breakfast Club” meets “Shaun of the Dead” tale about a group of oddball high school students who find themselves trapped in detention with their classmates having turned into a horde of Zombies. Can they put their differences aside and work together to survive the night? Fat chance! This is High School after all.

REVIEW:

What is it abut zombies and high schools? It almost seems as if there is some kind of zombie magnet there. Just wait, even the zombies on The Walking Dead will be seeking out a ihgh school soon enough. Well, you can thank one of the random podcasts I listen to for bringing Detention of the Dead to my attention. I’m quite so sure I’m going to be thanking them, though.

What is this about?

A group of teenagers trapped in detention fight for survival after their classmates turn into a ravenous zombie horde. Can a stoner, a jock, a bully, a goth and a nerd put aside their differences for one night to take on the undead?

What did I like?

Nod. There are subtle nods to other zombie films, directors, etc. all throughout this film. Well, I shouldn’t say just zombie, but rather horror in general. For instance, one of the main characters is named Willow (a character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer), another is named Ash (Bruce Campbell’s character from Evil Dead, if I’m not mistaken, and then we have Brad and Janet (Rocky Horror Picture Showyour guess is as good as mine as to what that has to do with zombies or horror.

Death…by clarinet. The gore in this film is about as bloody as can be expected from a zombie flick, albeit a bit more fake looking. Without all the blood, though, I just don’t think this would have worked at all. One scene in particular made the entire film worthwhile for me. Near the end, the main character Eddie, goes back into the school and runs into this zombie with a clarinet. He defeats her by taking the clarinet and jamming it in her head. After a couple of seconds, the horn gushes. Did I mention that they play a small clarinet riff during the gushing scene?!?

Goth. Alexa Nikolas, who plays the goth chick, hopefully goes on to bigger and much better things because she was the best thing about this cast. It seemed like she was the only one who knew how to actually act and also didn’t look, well…let’s just say “wise beyond her years”. Did I mention she’s a quite the cutie. She could pass for Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s little sister.

What didn’t I like?

Origin. Zombie outbreaks don’t just happen. Something causes them, be it the end f the world, radiation, the Book of Pure Evil, etc. It is never revealed to us what started this zombie outbreak, other than one of the kids in detention got bit by one. Would it really have been so hard to take a couple of extra minutes to explain where this all started?

Effects. For some reason the pothead decides t keep the decapitated head of the English teacher and play with it. That isn’t the worst looking thing in the picture, though. For that, you have to see the zombie rat. Yes, I said zombie rat! If you’ve ever seen Spaceballs, and can remember the alien that pops out of the guy’s stomach at the end, that is what these rats resemble. Why are they zombies? I don’t rightly know, but they are, much to our dismay.

Comedy. For some reason, the horror comedy genre just doesn’t seem to gel with people. I guess folks want their horror pure and undiluted with bad comedy. Of course, it might help if there actually was comedy involved and not just bad puns and lame jokes akin to what we seem to get with this picture. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a successful, funny, horror-comedy film. Maybe Beetlejuice, but that was more of a comedy than horror comedy.

Hughes. I’m guessing whoever it was that wrote this has to sit down and watch a lot of John Hughes films because the whole film has this The Breakfast Club vibe to it and there is a scene later n that is reminiscent of 16 Candles. I’m sure there are other references, but those were the ones that stuck out to me.

Age. Will there ever come a day when we actually see actors the right age playing high school roles? This cast all look like they are at least in college. When they first show Eddie, I thought he was some kind of faculty member, rather than a student. Oh, and the jocks…well, they always look ld. I didn’t buy that one guy on Glee before I stopped watching and he’s just as unbelievable here, not to mention he look like he’s at least 30!

Detention of the Dead is one of those films that was made just for the sake of cashing in on the zombie craze. It is obviously cheap and makes no apologies for it. However, just because you’re cheap does not mean you have to be subpar “entertainment”, which is what this is ultimately. I would have loved to write a glowing review of this film, but it doesn’t deserve it. As a matter of fact, there isn’t much t recommend here, so perhaps it is best if you just avoid it like the plague.

1 3/4 out of 5 stars

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