Archive for detention

Detention of the Dead

Posted in Comedy, Horror, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by Mystery Man

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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The Breakfast Club

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The plot follows five students at fictional Shermer High School in the fictitious Chicago suburb of Shermer, Illinois as they report for Saturday detention on March 24, 1984. While not complete strangers, the five teenagers are each from a different clique or social group.

The five students – Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), John Bender (Judd Nelson), Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), and Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald) – who seem to have nothing in common at first, come together at the high school library, where they are harangued and ordered not to speak or move from their seats by the antagonistic principal, Richard Vernon (Paul Gleason). They are to remain for a period of eight hours, fifty-four minutes (from 7:06 A.M. to 4 P.M., the only indication of time being on a clock that is 20 minutes fast). He assigns a 1,000 word essay (in which each student must write about who he or she thinks they are) and then leaves them mostly unsupervised, returning only occasionally to check on them. Bender, who has a particularly negative relationship with Mr. Vernon, disregards the rules and riles the other students; mocking Brian and Andrew, and sexually harassing Claire. Allison remains oddly quiet except for the occasional random outburst.

The students pass the hours in a variety of ways. Gradually they open up to each other and reveal their inner secrets (for example, Allison is a compulsive liar, Bender comes from an abusive household and Brian and Claire are ashamed of their virginity). They also discover that they all have strained relationships with their parents and are afraid of making the same mistakes as the adults around them. However, despite these developing friendships the students are afraid that once the detention is over, they will return to their very different cliques and never speak to each other again.

At the request and consensus of the students, Brian is asked to write the essay Mr. Vernon assigned earlier (the subject of which was to be a synopsis by each student detailing “who you think you are” (sic)), which challenges Mr. Vernon and his preconceived judgments about all of them. Brian does so, but instead of writing about the assigned topic, he writes a very motivating letter that is, in essence, the main point of the story: that each of them (or any person, in that matter) is a bit of everything and not the whole of what people see in them. He signs the essay as “The Breakfast Club” and leaves it at the table for Mr. Vernon to read when they leave. There are two versions of this letter, one read at the beginning and one at the end, which are slightly different; illustrating the change in the students’ judgments of one another and their realization that they truly have things in common.

The beginning letter is as follows:

Brian Johnson (although that is unknown at this point): Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois. 60062.
Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong…and what we did was wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us… in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at seven o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed.
The end letter is as follows:

Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong…but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who (sic) we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…
Andrew Clark: …and an athlete…
Allison Reynolds: …and a basket case…
Claire Standish: …a princess…
John Bender: …and a criminal…
Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
The film ends with the students walking down the hallway to leave the school. Outside, Allison and Andrew are shown kissing, as well as Claire and Bender. Claire gives Bender her earring, which he puts on after she leaves. Bender pumps his fist into the air, and the scene freezes

REVIEW:

Those of s that grew up in the 80s are more than aware of The Breakfast Club as well as the other masterpieces of the late John Hughes. As many movies from the 80s and I’ve seen and/or reviewed, can you believe this is my first time seeing this one?

The premise behind the film is that 5 kids each do something that lands them in Saturday detention, thanks to this hateful principal. While confined in the library they get to know and discover each other.

The coming-of-age part of this film seemed a bit cheesy for my taste, but I can see how some folks would eat that stuff up.

I really enjoyed how they bonded in such a short ammont of time, though. Of course, in today’s society, this wold never happen because everyone is afraid of everyone else and if you even look at a person funny, you can get sued!

I do have to classify this film as a bit overrated, though. Now, before you start jumping down my throat, hear me out. This film is nowhere near as overrated as say, Scarface, but it is up there. I say this based on the acting.

You look at this cast today and realize that they all went on to become fairly decent actors, especially Emilio Estevez, but back then, they were nothing more than fresh faces who were just reading lines. Somehow people really like this and gush over this film, but I don’t really see the reason why. It vexes me, that’s for sure.

All in all The Breakfast Club is not a bad film. I actually liked it. There is that 80s nostalgia that we all love, and how can you not sing along to Simple Minds’ “Dont You (Forget About Me)” when it kicks in. Should you see this? Why yes, but be wary that it isn’t the most interesting film. I liken this to the kind of comedy and dram you get from a Kevin Smith film, only no dick and fart jokes. So, if this floats your boat, check it out!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars