Today: April 22, 2024

Detention

You know that head-spinning feeling of disorientation you get when you are lying in a quiet, darkened room after one too many?

You know that head-spinning feeling of
disorientation you get when you are lying in a quiet, darkened room after one
too many? Well that is the feeling
you get when watching full-throttle teen horror/comedy Detention.

The
opening credits of the film play out in Grange
Hill
style with graffiti graphics and a voiceover by a Mean Girls-esque drama queen brat. She relays the trials and tribulations of being a teenager
but is fortunately promptly silenced by a masked killer. We then meet troubled outcast teen
Riley (Shanley Caswell) who we learn
yearns for romantic attention from her ice-cool, skateboard-riding best friend
Clapton (Josh Hutcherson). Unfortunately Clapton’s interests lie
elsewhere with a cutesy popular blonde Ioner (Spencer Locke), while school nerd Sander (Aaron David Johnson) follows Riley around like a lost puppy. Yes, so far this does sound like your
stereotypical high school movie – but then suddenly the film races in to a vast
array of bizarre sub-plots. These
include a time-travelling bear, a morphing of human and fly, a plot to destroy
Earth, a Freaky
Friday
swapping of bodies between mother and daughter and a deep-seated
conversation about who would win in a fight between Patrick Swayze and Steven
Seagal
. Meanwhile the crazed
killer is still on the loose, slaughtering teens one by one and so heroine
Riley attempts to reveal their identity.

There
has been somewhat of an eighties revival in cinemas of late, with re-makes of retro hits like Footloose and failed attempts like Stay Cool – and it seems the trend
continues. Detention draws a lot
from the last three decades, with varied music, luminous pink retro fashions
and mobile phones. Like Scary Movie, it outwardly mocks the
clichés and stereotypes of the teenage horror flick, incorporating every
teenage fad and social concern:
alcohol, vomit, vegetarians gorging on hamburgers, bulimia, attempted
suicides and fakery. It is a
kaleidoscope of cult television and film, with elements of Scream, The Breakfast Club,
The Fly, Dr Who, Donnie Darko, Prom Night, Back to the Future, Scott
Pilgrim vs. the World
– the list is endless. However, although there are some pretty funny moments, the
upshot is that Detention tries too darn hard to be funny and different, so much
so that the result is a mish-mash of pop culture references, one-liners, slapstick
and every movie genre it can conjure up.
It never attempts to hide the fact it is openly trying to become a cult comedy
movie, but the result is a bit desperate and watching becomes a true test of
endurance.

The
appearance of The Hunger Games’
Hutcherson as Clapton Davis will no doubt attract hoards of female, teenage fans. However, Hutcherson’s acting talent –
and incidentally the comedy talent of Dane
Cook
as Principal Verge – is suffocated by the bizarre plotlines. A saving grace of Detention is the eclectic
soundtrack, which comes from the fact that it borrows from three decades and
comes from renowned music video director, Joseph
Kahn
. Hits from 50 Cent, Goldfrapp, The Raveonettes,
The Pussycat Dolls, MC Hammer and The Backstreet Boys pump out in mixed tape, boom box fashion around
the action. The movie itself plays
out like a music video or an episode of Glee
but at unrelenting speed.

Yes,
it is kind of interesting that in this film we get to see the eighties,
nineties and noughties all rolled into one and let’s face it, not many
film-makers would dare to show some of the opening credits as puke formed in to
letters. There is no doubt that
Detention will get dedicated followers, but it is absolutely a tongue in cheek
horror/comedy of mind-bending madness.

Misha Wallace - Social Media Editor

From the age of 4, Misha Wallace became transfixed by movies like Halloween and The Birds from behind the couch, unbeknownst to her family. This has developed in to an obsession with fantasy and horror films (and a considerable number of cheesy 80s and 90s flicks – but she will not be judged). If she was a character in a film she'd be the girl at the end of a horror movie, doused in blood but grinning victorious. Email: misha.wallace@filmjuice.com or find her any time of the day or night on FilmJuice social media.

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